B45: Behaviour Modification
Chapter 13: Understanding Problem Behaviours through Functional Assessment
Before taking action to eliminate/increase a behaviour one must identify the variables before treating the
problem variable through functional assessment.
Functional assessment- process of generating info on the events preceding and following the behaviour in an
attempt to determine which antecedents and consequences are reliably associated with the occurrence of
the behaviour. Includes indirect assessment through interviews, questionnaires, observation etc.
DEFINING FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT
One basic principle of behaviour analysis is that behaviour is lawful; its occurrence is controlled by environmental
variables; that is, it is a function of environmental variables.
It is the process of gathering info about the antecedents and consequences that are functionally related to the
occurrence of a problem behaviour
•It may include the time and place of behaviour, people present when the behaviour occurs, any
environmental events immediately preceding the behaviour and the frequency of the behaviour.
oThis info on the 3 term contingency will help to identify the antecedents that have stimulus control
over the behaviour and the reinforcing consequences that maintain the behaviour.
oAlso provides other types of info such as: motivational variables, stimuli that may function as
reinforces for the person, history of previous treatments and outcomes etc.
Here is a list of categories of the information you can find from a functional assessment:
Problem behaviour, antecedents, consequences, alternative behaviours (info on desired behaviours), motivational variables
(things that may influence the effectiveness of reinforces and punishers), potential reinforcers (info on environments that may function as
reinforcers), and previous interventions
FUNCIONS OF PROBLEM BEHAVIOUR
Four broad classes of reinforcing consequences of problem behaviour:
1)Social Positive Reinforcement
•When a positively reinforcing consequence is delivered by another person after the target behaviour.
•May involve attention, access to activities or tangibles provided
•Ex. Anna received attention from her mother as a reinforcer for her problem behaviour. Jake received his
toys back from his mom as a reinforcer for her problem behaviour.
2)Social Negative Reinforcement