PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes -Reinforcement, Scatter Plot

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17 Nov 2012
CH.13 Understanding Problem Behaviors through Functional Assessment
- Functional Assessment: the process of identifying these variables (3 term contingence)
before treating a problem behavior
- The behavior occurs as a function of environmental variables
- Functional assessment is the process of gathering information abt the antecedents and
consequences tht are functionally related to the occurrence of a problem behavior. It
provides information tht helps you determine why a prblm behavior is occurring.
- It also provides detailed info abt antecedent stimuli including time and place of the
behavior, ppl present when the behavior occurs, any envrmntl events immediately
preceding the behavior, and the frequency of the target behavior.
- FA also provides other types of information tht are important for dvlpng appropriate
treatments for prblm behaviors, including the existence of alternative behaviors that may
be functionally equivalent to the prblm behavior, motivational variables (establishing
operations and abolishing operations tht influence the effectiveness of stimuli as
reinforcers and punishers), stimuli tht may function as reinforcers for the person, and the
history of previous treatments and their outcomes.
- Categories of Information from a Functional Assessment: problem behaviors,
consequences, alternative behaviors, motivational variables, potential reinforcers, previous
Functions of Problem Behaviors
- Problem behaviors are an objective description of the behaviors that make up the problem.
A primary purpose of a functional assessment is to identify the function of the problem
behavior. There are 4 broad classes of reinforcing consequences or functions of problem
Social Positive Reinforcement
- One type of reinforcing consequence involves positive reinforcement mediated by another
person. When a positively reinforcing consequence is delivered by another person after the
target behavior, it is called social positive reinforcement. It may involve attention, access to
activities, or tangible provided by another person. Ex: child getting attention from mother
as a reinforcer for her prblm
Social Negative Reinforcement
- When another person terminates an aversive interaction, task, or activity after the
occurrence of a target behavior, and as a result the behavior is more likely to occur the
behavior is said to be maintained by social negative reinforcement. Ex: escaping from
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doing a task by hurting themselves or complaining. It strengthens or reinforces the
problem behavior
Automatic Positive Reinforcement
- The reinforcing consequence of a target behavior is not mediated by another person but
rather occurs as an automatic consequence of the behavior itself. When the behavior
produces a reinforcing consequence automatically, and the behavior is strengthened, the
behavior is said to maintain by automatic positive reinforcement.
Automatic Negative Reinforcement
- It occurs when the target behavior automatically reduces or eliminates an aversive stimulus
as a consequence of the behavior and the behavior is strengthened. With automatic
negative reinforcement, escape from the aversive stimulus is not mediated by the actions
of another person.
Functional Assessment Methods
- The various methods used to conduct functional assessment are in 3 categories: indirect
assessment methods, in which information is gathered through interviews and
questionnaires; direct observation methods, in which an observer records the antecedents,
behavior, and consequences as they occur; and experimental methods (also called
functional analysis) in which antecedents and consequences are manipulated to observe
their effect on the prblm behavior
Indirect Methods:
- Behavioral interviews or questionnaires are used to gather information from the person
exhibiting the prblm behavior (the client) or from others who know this person
- Indirect assessment methods are also known as informant assessment methods b.c an
informant (the client or others) is providing information in response to assessment
- The advantage of indirect functional assessment methods is that they’re easy to conduct
and do not take much time. A number of interview formats and questionnaires are
available for use in conducting a functional assessment. Disadvantage of indirect methods
is that the informants must rely on their memory of the events. Thus, information frm
interviews and questionnaires may be incorrect as a result of forgetting or bias.
- The goal of a behavioral interview is to generate information on the prblm behaviors,
antecedents, consequences, and other variables tht will permit you to form a hypothesis
abt the ctrlling variables for the prblm
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