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Chapter 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Amanda Uliaszek

Chapter 2: Identifying and Assessing Target Behaviours Lecture 1 – January 11 , 2013 Page 19 – 36 G OALS ANDTARGET BEHAVIOURS  Target Person = a person whose behaviour is the target for change  Broad characteristics don’t specify the behaviours that need to pinpoint more specific characteristics of a person’s behaviour to find the target behaviours, which you want to fix o Target Behaviour = is objective and unambiguous  So it identifies exactly what the person does that constitutes the behavioural excess or deficit you want to change  The definition should be stated in a way that someone who doesn’t know the targeted person would understand what the behaviour is & identify the same instances of the behaviour if you were observing independently  Some target behaviours are behavioural deficits (i.e. being late, poorly done reports) and behavioural excesses (i.e. joking at staff meetings)  Once target behaviours have been determined, we can identify & define specific goals for any program we design Identifying and Defining Behavioural Goals  Goals behaviour analysts want to achieve by applying a behaviour change program can be of 2 types: 1. Outcome Goals = are broad or abstracted results we want to achieve  Are very obvious and straightforward, relating directly to the broad characteristics we’ve noticed about the person  These goals are meant to help more conscientious, cooperative, & productive people  Ex. Improving students’ grades in school  2. Behavioural Goals = is the level of the target behaviour we hope to achieve in a program  Sometimes behavioural and outcome goals are the same  This can happen when both goals simply involve quitting a particular behaviour  Very often they are different, outcome goals (^) are broader or less directly tied to the specific behaviours o Ex. Dietary Target Behaviour: Outcome Goal – lose weight, Behavioural Goal – reduce snacking to 2 servings per day  Not identifying a target behaviour could present a problem because individuals can try to meet the goal in many different ways which aren’t the most effective in the long run or is unethical 1  Ex. Improving student learning (outcome goal) which focuses on usually only the grades not the behaviour needed to help enable attainment of the goal. Therefore students can cheat to increase their grades  Once the target behaviour and behavioural goal is determined as well, we need to define them very clear and in measurable terms  If not we sometimes assume the behaviour occurred when it didn’t or the opposite  Another good idea is to identify behavioural subgoals = intermediate levels of the behaviour to be achieved by specific dates during the program Defining Operant Target Behaviours  Defining target behaviours clearly and in measurable terms are really important o Ex. Target Behaviour – to eat healthier  What does that mean? It has to be more specific b/c that could be interpreted in many different ways  To change operant behaviours such as eating you need to alter its antecedents & consequences  If the target behaviour is too vague, you’ll be uncertain when, where, and how to introduce appropriate antecedents & consequences  To determine how detail the definition of the target behaviour should be it depends on what you’re trying to achieve – definition must match the goal Defining Respondent Target Behaviours  Behaviour analysts tend to focus on changing overt behaviour b/c defining it is easier to define external behaviours more clearly and measure them more objectively than internal behaviours o Ex. Jogging, studying, being assertive  Defining & measuring covert behaviours – thoughts, feelings, and physiological changes are more problematic but still possible o Ex. Negative thoughts of one self can be defined by typical words/phrases the person thinks (i.e. lazy / stupid) o Measuring behaviour is a very subjective process o w/o some independent way of substantiating the person’s self-reports, any progress that is made will be unclear  Defining & measuring internal changes in physiology (i.e. heart rate or blood pressure) often require special apparatus / biochemical analyses Complex Behaviours  Operant target behaviours that we want to teach or improve involves a complex set of responses o It is useful to determine what these responses are & whether they need to be performed in a certain sequence 2  Behavioural Chain = is a motor activity that consists of a sequence of antecedents (Stimuli) and responses o Link = each antecedent-response pair making up the chain o Ex. Washing your hair: see shampoo bottle (antecedents)  reach & grasp bottle (responses) o To perform a chain correctly, the links must be done pretty much in a particular order  Learning a chain can be difficult for those w/ limited learning abilities or if the task is extremely complicated o Once the component links of a complex tasks are identified, a program can be designed to train the person to perform each component & put all the links together Defining Respondent Target Behaviours  Since we learn CRs (i.e. fears & dislikes) they can be targets of change programs  Respondent behaviours can be overt or covert, often they are both o Ex. When we are afraid  show external signs of fear (facial expressions) & experience internal behaviours (negative thoughts)  When designing a program to change a respondent behaviour we need to define the behaviour in terms of internal & external responses or both Prioritizing: Which Behaviour to Address First  Clients who have 1 behaviour they want to change don’t need to make a decision on which behaviours to address  Often a target person has many behaviours they need to improve & the behaviour analysts needs to decide how to sequence the changes which is based on the extent to which changed behaviour is likely to contribute to the person’s behavioural & social functioning  To make decisions, behaviour analyst can try to answer the following questions: o “Is the new or changed behaviour likely to ….”  Lead to reinforcement in the target person’s everyday environment?  Reduce the occurrence of harm or damage?  Be a prerequisite for learning a skill that enables the person to function better?  Affect in positive ways important individuals in the client’s life?  Be a behavioural cusp?  Behavioural Cusp = a behaviour that has benefits beyond its direct effects b/c it exposes the person to new & richer environments, learning opportunities, and consequences that would not be available otherwise  Show response generalization?  Response Generalization = altering one behaviour leads to similar changes in another, unaddressed response, usually one that is similar or related to the target behaviour  Take the place of or interfere with performing a problem behaviour? 3 o If you answer yes to any of these questions it supports giving priority to changing the behaviour in question o Other factors analysts consider are the likely degree of success in changing the behaviour with the particular client & how much money/resources the change will cost o Not all the questions can be answered unambiguously but educated guesses can help set priorities HOW TOA SSESSTARGETBEHAVIOURS  Behaviour analysts need to be able to measure the target behaviour at diff pts in the process to see whether efforts are working o When problems involve…  Behaviour deficit  want the measure to show an increase  Behaviour excess  want the measure to show a decrease  When assessing behaviour we require the collection of data Types of Data 1. Frequency = of a behaviour refers to the # of times the response was observed o Is an appropriate measure when the behavioural goal involves changing how often the behaviour occurs & each instance of the target behaviour is discrete (= clear start & end) & takes about the same amount of time to perform 2. Duration = refers to the length of time each instance of the target lasts from start to finish o This type of data is appropriate for assessing inst
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