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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Text Notes.docx

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Kelly Olson

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Part IV: The Behavioral Conditioning Level
- Behaviorally oriented workers tried to apply their ideas and methods to people and to issues relevant to personality and personality change
- Began to treat some of the most difficult behavioral and personality problems that had resisted other forms of therapy
o Eg. They were allowed to try to treat hospitalized people who were severely disturbed as there was little to lose by attempting experimental innovations since no
other methods had proved successful
Characteristics of Behavioral Assessments
- Behavioral approaches focus on the specific external conditions and learning processes that might govern his or her behavior
- Note: all scientific psychological approaches are based on behavioral observations giving answers on personality inventories or saying what an inkblot looks like are
behaviors just as must as crying, running, or fighting
- In most personality assessments observed behaviours serve as highly indirect
of the traits or motives that might underlie them
- In behavior assessments the observed behavior is treated as a
, and interest is focused on how the specific sampled behavior is affected by alterations in
Case Example: Conditions ‘Controlling; Gary W.’s Anxiety
- Illustrates the general strategy of behaviour assessment
- Rather than seek a portrait of gary’s personality and behaviour ‘in general’ or an estimated ‘average’, the focus is at the specific behavioral level of analysis
- The behaviour pattern selected to study depends on the particular problem being investigated
o Clinical situations client indicates the priorities
o Research contexts selected by investigator
- During his first semester of grad school, gary starting going to the school’s counseling center
- He was asked to list and rank his three distressing problems that he wanted to change in order of importance
- ‘feeling anxious and losing my grip’ was his greatest problem
- He was asked to specify what changes indicated he was or was not anxious
o Answer = felt changes in heart rate, became tense, perspired, difficult to speak coherently
- To explore covariation between increases and decreases in this state and changes in stimulus conditions, gary was asking to keep an hour-by-hour diary for 2 weeks
- Anxiety occurred primarily in connection with public speaking occasions specifically in the classroom
- After determining this covariation, the assessor wanted to identify the specific components of the public speaking situation that led to more or less anxiety
- Note: the assessment restricts itself to some clearly described problems and tries to analyze them in objective terms without going beyond the observed relations
- This assessment of Gary’s anxiety illustrates one rather crude way to study stimulus-response covariations
Direct Behaviour Measurement
- Important to sample and observe behaviour in carefully structured, lifelike situations
- In clinical applications, direct observations may give both client and assessor an opportunity to asses life problems and to select treatment objectives
- Direct observations of behaviour samples also may be used to assess the relative efficacy of various treatment procedures
- Types of data collected in behavioral approach include:
o Situational samples of both verbal and nonverbal
o Physiological measurements of emotional reactions
- A comprehensive assessment often includes an analysis of effective rewards or reinforcing stimuli in the person’s life
Situational Behavior Sampling
- Behavior sampling: is basic for much of the work at this level

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- Roles of fear and avoidance behaviour - much attention has been given to assessing the strength of diverse avoidance behaviors reliably in clinical situations
- Claustrophobic behaviour fear of closed spaces was measured by asking each person to sit in a cubicle containing large french windows opening into a balcony
o Assessor shut the windows and slowly moved the large screen closer to the person
o Measure of claustrophobia was the least distance at which the person could tolerate the screen
- Direct behaviour sampling has also been used extensively in the analysis of psychotic behaviour
- Many behaviorally oriented clinicians routinely ask their client to keep specific records listing the exact conditions under which their anxieties and problems seem to
increase or decrease
Finding Effective Rewards
- Behaviour assessments, analyze the conditions that regulate or determine what people do
- They have to find effective rewards or reinforcers that may be influencing a person’s behaviour
o If discovered, these reinforces also serve as incentives in therapy programs to help modify behaviour in more positive or advantageous directions
- Reinforcement value of particular stimuli also may be assessed directly by observing their effects on the individual’s performance
- Primary reinforcers (eg. Food) and generalized conditioned reinforcers (praise, social approval, money) are effective for most people
- Differential reinforcement: reinforcing appropriate behaviour but not inappropriate behaviour, to reduce the latter to a socially acceptable level
- Sometimes difficult to find potent reinforcers that are feasible to manipulate
- With disturbed groups many of the usual reinforcers prove to be ineffective, especially with people who have spent many years living in the back wards of a mental
- Azrin and allyon (1965) shoed how effective reinforces can be discovered even for unmotivated psychotic patients
o Patients were observed directly in the ward to discover their most frequent behaviours in situations that permitted them freedom to do what they wished
o Observers carefully recorded the things they did, or tried to do, without pressures from the staff
o Frequency of the activities provided an index of their potential values as reinforcers
o Six categories were established:
Privacy choice of bedroom or eating group, personal cabinet, room-divider screen
Commissary items
Leave from ward
Social interaction with staff
Recreational opportunities exclusive use of radio or tv, movies, dances, entertainment
Devotional opportunities
o Patients could obtain each of the reinforcers with a specific number of tokens which they earned by participating in such rehabilitative functions as self-care
and job training
o Changes to interact socially with the staff, the opportunity for recreation, and spiritual devotion are most unpopular
- Therefore, with chronic hospitalized patients reinforcers such as privacy, autonomy, and freedom might be most effective
Assessing Conditions Controlling Behavior
- To assess behavior fully, behavior theorists believe that we have to identify the conditions that control it
- Behaviorally oriented psychologists test the conditions by introducing a change and observing whether or not it produces the expected modification in behaviour
- If we believe that a child’s reading difficulty is caused by anxiety about pressure to read from her mother, we should try to show that if the mother reduces her pressure, it
will yield the expected improvement in reading
- To understand behaviour fully, we need to know the conditions that cause it
- A rigid distinction between behavior assessment and treatment is neither meaningful nor possible
- A main characteristic of these assessment methods is that they are linked closely to behaviour change and cannot really be separated from it
- Functional analysis: analyses of the precise covariations between changes in stimulus conditions and changes in a selected behaviour pattern
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