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Chapter 1-2

SOCB43H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-2: Applied Behavior Analysis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Classical Conditioning

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Commonly used synonyms = activity, action, performance, responding, response, and
Essentially, behaviour is anything that a person says or does
Technically, behaviour is any muscular, glandular or electrical activity of an organism
Overt (visible) behaviours can be observed and recorded by an individual other than the
one performing the behaviour
oi.e., walking, talking out loud, throwing a baseball, yelling at someone
Covert (private, internal) behaviours cannot be readily observed by others
oActivities that occur “within one’s skin” and therefore require special instruments
or procedures for others to observe
Covert and overt behaviours can be influenced by the techniques of behaviour
Imagining and private self talk are sometimes referred to as cognitive behaviours
oTechniques for dealing with cognitive behaviours are called cognitive behaviour
Dimensions of behaviour are characteristics of behaviour that can be measured
oDuration is the length of time that it lasts
oFrequency is the number of instances that occur in a given time period
oIntensity/Force is the physical effort or energy involved in emitting the behaviour
Traditional helping specialists often use general summary terms such as intelligence,
attitudes, and creativity
oAvoid using “intelligence” as a noun
Other psychological terms such as developmental disabilities, autism, and so on, are
labels for certain ways of behaving
oMake this decision (developmental disability) primarily because they might
observe that the person, at a certain age, may not do certain things others in that
age group can do (i.e., can’t tie shoe laces, is not toilet trained, etc)
oDiagnose a child as showing autistic disorder by observing:
Frequently mimes particular questions rather than answering with an
appropriate statement (impaired communication)
Impaired social behaviour
Engages in various self-stimulatory behaviours
Performs much below average on a variety of self-care tasks
Other summary labels commonly used to refer to psychological problems include
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, road rage,
interpersonal difficulties, and sexual dysfunction
Summary labels may be useful for quickly providing general information about how an
individual might perform
oA 10-year old that has been labeled as having a severe developmental disability,
for example, would not be able to read event at the first-grade level

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Labels may imply that a particular treatment program will be helpful
oSomeone with road rage might be encouraged to take an anger-management
The use of summary labels also has disadvantages:
oMay lead to pseudo-explanations of behaviour (pseudo means false)
A child who inverts words while reading might be labeled as dyslexic. If
we as why the child inverts words, and we are give the answer “because
he is dyslexic,” then the summary label for the behaviour has been used
as a pseudo-explanation for the behaviour
Also called circular reasoning
oLabels can negatively affect the way an individual might be treated
Teachers may be less likely to encourage children to persist in problem
solving if they have been given the label mentally retarded
oMay direct our focus to an individual’s problem behaviours rather than their
Suppose a teenager consistently fails to make his bed but reliably mows
the lawn and places the garbage cans on the street on pickup days. If the
parents describe their son as lazy, that label may cause them to focus
more on the problem behaviour than to praise the positive behaviours
In some societies, racial minorities have been given then negative label
lazy even when they were the ones doing most of the hard physical work
in those societies
Strongly stress the importance of defining all types of problems in terms of behavioural
deficits (too little behaviour of a particular type) or behavioural excesses (too much
behaviour of a particular type).
oHelps avoid the problem of using general summary labels
oRegardless of the labels attached to an individual, it is behaviour that causes
concern – and behaviour that must be treated to alleviate the problem
oSpecific procedures are not available that can be used to improve behaviour in
schools, workplaces, and in home settings
oThese techniques are referred to collectively as behaviour modification
The most important characteristic of behaviour modification is its strong emphasis on
defining problems in terms of behaviour that can be measured in some way and using
changes in the behavioural measure of the problem as the best indicator of the extent to
which the problem is being helped
Behaviour modification treatment procedures and teachings are ways of altering an
individual’s current environment to help that individual function more fully
Stimuli are the people, objects, and events currently present in one’s immediate
surroundings that impinge on one’s sense receptors and that can affect behaviour
oEXAMPLE: the teacher, chalkboard, other students, and the furniture in a
classroom are all potential stimuli in a student’s environment in a classroom
oAn individual’s own behaviour can also be a part of the environment influencing
that individual’s subsequent behaviour

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oThings that a therapist might say to a client are also a part of that client’s
Behaviour modification is more than talk therapy or verbal psychotherapy
oBehavior modifier is frequently actively involved in restructuring a client’s daily
environment to strengthen appropriate behaviour rather than spending a great
deal of time discussing the client’s past experiences
Knowledge of current environment variables that control client’s behaviour
is necessary for designing an effective behavioural treatment
oBehavior modifier frequently gives homework assignments to clients in which
they change their own everyday environments for therapeutic purposes
Behaviour modification methods and rationales can be described precisely
oMakes it possible to read descriptions of procedures used by colleagues,
replicate them, and get essentially the same results
oMakes it easier to teach behaviour modification procedures
The techniques of behaviour modification are often applied by individuals in everyday life
oThe precise description of behaviour modification techniques makes it possible
for individuals such as parents, teachers, coaches, and others to apply behaviour
modification to help individuals in everyday situations
To a large extent, the techniques stem from basic and applied research in the science of
learning in general and the principles of operant and Pavlovian conditioning in particular
Behaviour modification emphasizes scientific demonstration that a particular intervention
was responsible for a particular behaviour change, and it places high value on
accountability for everyone involved in behaviour modification programs
Behaviour modification involves the systematic application of learning principles and
techniques to assess and improve individuals’ covert and overt behaviours in order to
enhance their daily functioning
Target behaviours are behaviors to be improved in a behaviour modification program
oEXAMPLE: if a university student sets a goal of studying two hours out of class
for each spent in class, studying is the target behaviour
Behavioural assessment involves the collection and analysis of information and data in
order to (1) identify and describe target behaviours; (2) identify possible causes of the
behaviour; (3) guide the selection of an appropriate behavioural treatment; and (4)
evaluate treatment outcome
Functional analysis involves isolating through experimentation the causes of problem
behaviour and removing or reversing them
Behaviour analysis refers to the scientific study of laws that govern the behaviour of
human beings and other animals
Applied behaviour analysis is a term closely related to behaviour modification
Baer, Wolf, and Risely identified the dimensions of applied behaviour analysis as
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