Textbook Notes (381,228)
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PSYB45H3 (1,085)
Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Notes

9 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 13: Understanding Problem Behaviors through Functional Assessment
This section of the text describes behavioral procedures for understanding problem behaviors and
increasing or decreasing existing behaviors.
When using behaviour modification procedures to help a person increase a desirable behaviour or
decrease or eliminate an undesirable behaviour, the first step is to understand why the person
engages in the behaviour.
To do so, you must conduct an assessment of the three-term contingency to determine the
antecedent events that evoke the behaviour and the reinforcing consequences that maintain it.
Identifying these variables before treating a problem behaviour is called functional assessment.
Example of Functional Assessment
Jacob, a 2 year old boy was engaged in problem behaviors involving throwing objects,
banging his head on the ground and whining.
His mother was concerned about his problems and agreed for a psychology student named
Rich, to try to decrease Jacob’s problem behavior.
The first step to Rich took was to conduct a functional assessment to determine why Jacob
was engaging in these behaviors.
First, Rich interviewed Jacobs mother and asked her questions about the problem behaviors,
the setting and the day care routines, the antecedent circumstances, the consequences when
Jacob engaged in the problem behaviors, other behaviors that Jacob engaged in, and previous
treatments that she had tried with Jacob.
After the interview, Rich observed Jacob in the day care setting and recorded information on
the antecedents, behavior and consequences each time Jacob engaged in the problem
behaviors.
Using the information from the interview and observations, Rich developed a hypothesis
about the function of the problem behaviors.
He determined that Jacob was more likely to engage in the problem behaviors when other
children in day care took his toys or tried to play with his toys.
When Jacob engaged in the head-banging, whining, or toy-throwing, the other children were
likely to stop playing with his toys and give the toys back to him.
Rich hypothesized that the reinforcer for the problem behaviors was that the other children
gave Jacob gave back his toys.
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To determine if the hypothesis was correct, Rich conducted a brief experiment.
On some days, he instructed the other children in day care not to touch jacob’s toys; on other
days, he instructed the children to play with Jacob’s toys but to give the toys back to him
immediately if he engaged in the problem behaviors.
Rich found that Jacob was more likely to engage in problem behaviors on days when the
other children played with his toys.
Antecdent Behavior
Consequnce
Other kids play with Jacob’s toys. Jacob bangs his head, whines and throw toys. The kids return his toys.
Treatment for Jacob involved teaching him to ask the other children to give back his toys
when they took them.
Antecedent Behavior Consequence
Other kids play Jacob’s toys.Jacob asks for his toys back. The kids return Jacob’s toys to him.
Asking for the toys produced the same behavior same outcome as the problem behavior. The
children gave the toys back to him when he exhibited aggressive behavior, he did not get his
toys back.
The treatment helped Jacob replace the undesirable behavior.
Conducting a functional assessment is always the first step in using behavior modification
procedures to decrease problem behaviors.
Defining Functional Assessment
Functional assessment is the process of gathering information about the antecedents and
consequences that are functionally related to the occurrence of a problem behavior.
It provides information that helps you determine why a problem behavior is occurring.
Also provides detailed information about antecedent stimuli, including the time and place of the
behavior, people present when the behavior occurs, any environmental events immediately
preceding the behavior, and the frequency of the target behavior.
Also provides other types of information that are important for developing appropriate treatments
for problem behaviors.
Refer to Table 13-1 page 277.
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Functions of Problem Behaviors
1. Social Positive Reinforcement
When a positively reinforcing consequence is delivered by another person after the target
behavior, it is called social positive reinforcement.
May involve attention, access to activities, or tangibles provided by another person.
For example, Jacob received his toys back from the other kids as a reinforcer for his
problem behavior.
2. Social Negative Reinforcemnt
When another person terminates an aversive interaction, task, or activity after the
occurrence of a target behavior.
For example, a child who complains to his parent when asked to do a chore may get out
of doing the chore as a result of complaining.
Being allowed to escape from the chore reinforces the problem behavior.
3. Automatic Positive Reinforcement
When the behavior produces a reinforcing consequence automatically.
For example, some behaviors produce sensory stimulation that reinforces the behavior.
A child with autism who spins objects, rocks in his seat, or flaps his fingers in front of his
face may do so because the behaviors produce reinforcing sensory stimulation.
Another example is going to the kitchen to get a drink yourself. Getting someone to get
you a drink would be social positive reinforcement
4. Automatic Negative Reinforcement
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Description
Chapter 13: Understanding Problem Behaviors through Functional Assessment This section of the text describes behavioral procedures for understanding problem behaviors and increasing or decreasing existing behaviors. When using behaviour modification procedures to help a person increase a desirable behaviour or decrease or eliminate an undesirable behaviour, the first step is to understand why the person engages in the behaviour. To do so, you must conduct an assessment of the three-term contingency to determine the antecedent events that evoke the behaviour and the reinforcing consequences that maintain it. Identifying these variables before treating a problem behaviour is called functional assessment. Example of Functional Assessment Jacob, a 2 year old boy was engaged in problem behaviors involving throwing objects, banging his head on the ground and whining. His mother was concerned about his problems and agreed for a psychology student named Rich, to try to decrease Jacobs problem behavior. The first step to Rich took was to conduct a functional assessment to determine why Jacob was engaging in these behaviors. First, Rich interviewed Jacobs mother and asked her questions about the problem behaviors, the setting and the day care routines, the antecedent circumstances, the consequences when Jacob engaged in the problem behaviors, other behaviors that Jacob engaged in, and previous treatments that she had tried with Jacob. After the interview, Rich observed Jacob in the day care setting and recorded information on the antecedents, behavior and consequences each time Jacob engaged in the problem behaviors. Using the information from the interview and observations, Rich developed a hypothesis about the function of the problem behaviors. He determined that Jacob was more likely to engage in the problem behaviors when other children in day care took his toys or tried to play with his toys. When Jacob engaged in the head-banging, whining, or toy-throwing, the other children were likely to stop playing with his toys and give the toys back to him. Rich hypothesized that the reinforcer for the problem behaviors was that the other children gave Jacob gave back his toys. www.notesolution.com
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