What is applied behavior analysis?
What does behavior mean?: 1) External and internal behaviors. 2) What is not behavior? 3) How
How we acquire and change behavior: 1) Respondent conditioning. 2) Operant conditioning. 3) Relating
respondent and operant conditioning. 4) Modeling. 5) Are cognitive processes involved?
Defined applied behavior analysis: 1) Related terms and fields. 2) Characteristics of applied behavior
How behavior analysis developed: 1) Behaviorism: The origin of behavior analysis. 2) Emergences and
growth of applied behavior analysis.
What does behavior mean?
Behavior: Anything a person does, typically because of internal or external events.
External / Overt behaviors: Open to view or observation. Two types: 1) Verbal. 2) Motor. Main focus of
applied behavior analysis because it can be observed and measured.
Verbal behaviors: Actions that involve the use of language
Motor behaviors: Actions that involve body movement, without requiring the use of language
Internal / Covert behaviors: Not viewable or openly shown. Sometimes called private events. Must be
measured indirectly, through verbal or written reports or with special equipment (e.g. ECG)
What is not behavior?
Not behavior: 1) Prominent traits (e.g. nice, honest, smart). 2) Diagnoses. 3) Outcomes of behaviors
Prominent traits: 1) Misleading; definition of the trait 2) Inconsistent; nice sometimes, rude other
times. 3) Imprecise; don't tell us what specifically we need to change.
Diagnoses: Classifying clients. 1) Imprecise; don't tell us what specifically needs to be changed. E.g.
knowing someone has autism does not tell you how to improve their behavior.
Outcomes of behaviors: E.g. lose weight, higher marks. Individuals who focus their efforts toward the
outcome often fail to identify and deal effectively with the specific behaviors that need to change.
How behavior develops
How behavior develops: 1) Reflexes; inborn behaviors. 2) Heredity. 3) Experience
Reflexes: Provide survival value. Useful in feeding, maintaining physiological functioning, protection
from injury. Two reflexes important for feeding. 1) Rooting reflex; turns head towards object that lightly touches its cheek. 2) Sucking reflex, in which the baby starts to suck when its lips are touched with any
small rounded object. Inborn reflexive behaviors are inherited.
Heredity: Two ways this affects behavior: 1) Charts the course of person's maturation / physical growth
(growth of muscles and nervous systems). Physical growth is fastest in head and upper trunk of the
body. Speeds up later in arms and legs. 2) Foundation for or tendency toward developing behaviors of
certain types. E.g. stuttering, severe anxieties, autism, alcoholism.
Experience: Dominant factor in the development of almost all human behaviors. Occurs through process
How we acquire and change behavior
Learning: Directly associated with changes in behavior (i.e. learned to do something). Learning is an
internal process that applies to a wide range of behaviors. People don't always display what they have
learned. Learning is a durable change in behavioral potential as a result of experience
Respondent / Classical conditioning
Pavlov / Respondent conditioning: Studying the role of salivation in dog digestive processes when he
noticed that the dogs began to salivate before the food was actually in their mouths. Concluded that the
association between the stimulus (sight and food) and the salivary response must have been learned.
Proposed that learned response was through association with the reflexive (automatic) connection
between food in the mouth and salivation. Virtually any stimulus that is regularly associated with the
reflexive connection (food-salivation) could produce the salivary response.
Respondent conditioning: Is a learning process in which a stimulus (the eventual CS) gains the ability to
elicit a response through repeated association with a stimulus (the US) that already produces that
response. Consists of 1) Unconditioned stimulus. 2) Unconditioned response. 3) Conditioned stimulus. 4)
Conditioned response. Emotions are often what we learn from respondent conditioning.
Unconditioned stimulus (US): An event that elicits a specific response automatically.
Unconditioned response (UR): Automatic response to the unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioned stimulus (CS): A previously neutral stimulus that comes to evoke the conditioned response
through its association with the unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioned response (CR): Learned response to a previously neutral stimulus.
Respondent behaviors: UR and CR are respondent behaviors because they are elicited involuntarily by
Operant / Instrumental conditioning
Operant conditioning: A learning process by which behavior changes because of its consequences. The
responses we acquire through this type of learning are called operant behaviors. Operant indicates that these behaviors operate on the environment, producing consequences. Can influence virtually any
behavior, regardless of whether the behavior is verbal or motor, overt or covert.
Skinner / Consequences in operant conditioning: Distinguished between behavioral consequences of
two types: 1) Reinforcement. 2) Punishment.
Reinforcement / Reward: A consequence following a behavior strengthens that behavior, causing
performance of the behavior to increase. Typically involves a consequence the person wants or finds
pleasant. Knowing why a particular consequence has an effect on behavior may be less important than
knowing its results. If performance of a behavior increases when it is followed by a particular
consequence, we can conclude two things: 1) Reinforcement occurred, and the consequence was
Punishment: A consequence following a behavior leads to a decrease in performance of that behavior.
Punishment usually involves a consequence the person does not want or finds unpleasant. If
performance of a behavior decreases when it is followed by a particular consequence, we can conclude
that punishment occurred and the consequence served as a punishment. The best way to determine
whether an event punishes a behavior is to observer the behavior over time. If it decreases when it is
followed by the consequence, punishment has occurred.
Antecedents in operant conditioning: Behavior is influenced not only by the consequences that follow
it, but also by the occasion for your action. Discovering cues help us determine the type of consequence
our behavior will bring. Antecedent = before / prior.
Process of operant conditioning: A) Antecedents B) Behavior C) Consequence. Antecedents set
the occasion for behavior (e.g. being in a church sets antecedents for certain behaviors: quiet,
respectful, etc). Behavior produces a consequence (e.g. well formed letters written on a line of paper
results in the consequence of moving to the next line).
Relating respondent and operant conditioning
Relating respondent and operant conditioning: Respondent and operant conditioning go hand in hand.
There are not many instances in real life where purely one or the other type of conditioning occurs.
Modelling: Learning a behavior by watching someone else perform it. Modeling can be used to teach
simple operant responses (opening a drawer) and complex sequences of behavior (scrambling eggs).
Peoples existing operant behaviors are influenced by observation (drink more when others around you
Aggression and modelling:
Aggression: An operant behavior that can involve motor and verbal components which people learn
through modeling. Bandura / Bobo doll experiment: Showed children one of three films with a model performing a series
of unusual aggressive acts. The consequences the model received for these acts were different in the
three films (punished, reinforced, control). Children taken to a room with a bobo doll and allowed to
play any way they liked. Those who watched the reinforcement film were more aggressive than those
who watched the punishment film. Later, promised rewards for reproducing the aggressive acts;
children equally aggressive throughout the three conditions. This indicates that children learn from
modelling reinforcement and punishment equally. Seeing models punished for their acts merely
suppresses the children's performance of those behaviors
Fear and modelling
Fear and modelling: Observing fear in other people affects oth internal and external behavior. Children
showed a video of a child screaming when he saw a mickey mouse toy tended to avoid mickey mouse
in real life (temporary)
Are cognitive processes involved?
Cognition: Refers to covert behaviors (thinking and reasoning) that occur in the mind and are not
observable to others. Thoughts can serve as antecedents for behavior (e.g. remember to call a friend
call a f