PSYB45 - Chapter Thirteen
Functional Assessment: when using behaviour mod to help a person increase/decrease a
behaviour, the first step is to understand why the person engages in the behaviour. 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 behaviour is called functional assessment
Respondent behaviour is controlled by antecedent stimuli, and operant behaviour is
controlled by antecedents and consequences, that make up the three-term contingencies of
reinforcement and punishment.
Functional assessment is the process of gathering information about the antecedents and
consequences that are functionally related to the occurrence of a problem behaviour. It
provides info that helps you determine why a problem behaviour is occurring. It also
provides detailed info about antecedent stimuli, including the time and place of the
behaviour, people present when the behaviour occurs, any environmental events
immediately preceding the behaviour and the frequency. This info helps identify the
antecedents and reinforcing consequences that maintain the behaviour
It provides info about the existences of alternative behaviours that may be functionally
equivalent to the behaviour, motivational variables, stimuli that may function as reinforcers
for the person, and the history of previous treatments and their outcomes.
FOUR CLASSES OF REINFORCING CONSEQUENCES/FUNCTIO