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The gradual reduction of
responses of responsiveness as an organism adjusts to the introduction
of new stimuli into the environment. Ex: Sensory adaptation to a bright
light; students tuning out a teacher's loud or soft commands where there
is no contrast.
The phase (time period) in any
behavioral program during which the subject (or subjects) adjusts to any
novel stimuli that have been introduced into the environment. Ex: The
time necessary for a class to adapt to observers prior to collection of
Two or more interventions
suspected to effect change are selected and either rotated or placed in a
predetermined order such that data can be collected s to the effect
each has on the targeted behavior.
The withdrawal or presentation of
an aversive stimulus, which then maintains or increases the frequency
of a response. Three types exist.
1. Escape, in which the organism terminates the stimulus after it has begun.
2. Avoidance, in which the organism postpones the beginning of stimuli.
3. Punishment, in which responses are followed by a stimulus.
When the event follows the
behavior but need not do so. Reinforcement is generally contingent upon
behavior. After reinforcement occurs, this has been established. Ex: If
one is asked to turn off the water and does so, the behavior is called
The changing of behavior
(increasing or decreasing) using a schedule of reinforcement (positive
or negative) and/or non-reinforcement. The programmed use of scientific
techniques used to produce observable changes in behavior.
when 2 behaviors are initially reinforced at equal levels and then 1
behavior stops being reinforced. Then the behavior that is no longer
reinforced decreases in frequency whole the behavior that continues to
be reinforced increases in frequency
The relationship between the
behavior of an organism and environmental events (generally reinforcing)
that follow the behavior and either increase or decrease the
probability of similar behavior in the future.
A written contract specifying
subsequent behavioral contingencies between persons involved. Ex:
Completion of school assignments will result in money and special
privileges from parents and free time in school.
The relationship between a
specific response and environmental consequence is said to be contingent
if the consequence follows the behavior and subsequently has the effect
of increasing, maintaining, decreasing, or eliminating behavior.
A phenomenon that varies in any
way (appears, disappears, or changes) as a function of any application,
removal, or variation in other variables (independent). Usually
monitored or measured in behavior modification studies.
A process of eliminating
anxiety-stimuli through extinction and reconditioning. The process
generally involves three operations: 1. training muscle relaxation, 2.
constructing anxiety hierarchies ie arranging specific stimuli from
least to most anxiety provoking and 3. counter-posing relaxation and
anxiety-evoking stimuli from the hierarchies.
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors (DRO)
A procedure in which a reinforcer
follows any response an individual makes, except for one particular
response. Thus, the individual receives scheduled reinforcement except
when he engages in a particular specified behavior. This procedure
results in a decrease of the specified behavior.
An environmental event that sets
the occasion for responses that are followed by reinforcement. The
probability of the response is high only when certain environmental
events are present. When this is present, specific responses may then be
An observational procedure in
which the frequency of duration of a specific iscrete behavior, such as
times tardy or number of pages completed, is recorded over a specific
extended period of time. (Typically a class day).
A procedure in which the
reinforcement for a previously reinforced behavior is discontinued. The
process whereby a conditioned response is reduced to its preconditioned
level or strength, often approaching or reaching zero magnitude or
frequency. The process involves continuing presentation of the
conditioned stimulus without any further pairing with the unconditioned
stimulus. With operant responses, this results when responding is no
longer followed by reinforcement.
A lawful relationship between two
variables. In behavior modification, a dependent variable and a given
procedure are functionally related if the behavior systematically varies
as a function of the application of the procedure.
Any two or more behaviors that,
by the very nature of one, cannot exist with the other. Sometimes the
term is used to include not only behavior that cannot occur
simultaneously with another, but also behavior that interferes with
other behavior. Ex: Speaking and being quiet.
Not applying the previously
specified consequences to the occurrences of a behavior, applying the
consequences when the behavior has not occurred, applying inappropriate
consequences or applying appropriate and inappropriate consequences
The factor purposely manipulated
in a behavior modification program to ascertain its relationship with
the dependent variable. Sometimes thought of as the "cause" of the
"effect" on the dependent measure.
A technique whereby the behavior
that is to be taught is demonstrated for the learner and any semblance
of the goal behavior is initially rewarded. The criterion for
reinforcement is then gradually increased until the goal behavior is
obtained. Sometimes no shaping is required.
An experimental design, usually
single subject that involves: 1. Obtaining base rates on several
dependent behaviors. 2. Applying the independent variable to one of the
dependent behaviors until it is substantially changed while the other
dependent behaviors are left free to vary.
3. Applying the independent variable to a second dependent variable as
in N0. 2. This procedure is continued until it is demonstrated that each
behavior systematically changes when the independent variable is
applied to it.
A stimulus whose removal, if
paired with the occurrence of a behavior, will increase the probability
of occurrence of the behavior. Many times the term aversive stimulus is
used in place of negative reinforcer.
The strength of an operant before
any known reinforcement; the unconditioned level of an operant
(response), or the rate at which responses occur before they have been
reinforced. Generally, baseline or base rate recording is a record of
the operant level.
The vertical reference axis on a
graph. In behavior modification, the ordinate is usually labeled with a
scale that measures the dependent behavior, for example, frequency,
percentage of responses, or rate.
Refers to consistency of
measurement. It is usually calculated by comparing how well two or more
independent observers agree among themselves. Should be reported for
each phase of a single-subject design.
(Classical or Pavlovian) The
process whereby eliciting stimuli increase the frequency of respondents
(usually a physiological change). A neutral stimulus, when associated
repeatedly with an unconditioned stimulus which reliably elicits a
specific response, comes to elicit a "new" response which is similar in
some respect to that produced originally by the unconditioned stimulus.
The process whereby reinforcement
alters some specific property of an operant such as its duration,
intensity, or topography; a procedure that reinforces a subset of
specific behavior, conforming to specified behavioral dimensions.
Taking the behaviors that the
organism already has in his repertoire and reinforcing those that are
similar to the goal behavior, gradually requiring the organism's
behavior be more and more similar to the goal behavior to be reinforced.
This is continued until the goal behavior is obtained. New behaviors
may be developed by systematic reinforcement of successive
approximations toward a specified goal.
After an operant has been
reinforced in the presence of a particular stimulus a number of times,
that stimulus comes to control the operant. Control of this sort is
achieved when responses are reinforced in the presence of a specified
stimulus and not others and the stimulus controls the probability that
the response will be emitted.
A stimulus in the presence of
which a given response is not reinforced. This kind of discriminative
stimulus is said to be established when, after several pairings with the
occurrence or nonoccurrence of reinforcement, its presence or absence
is accompanied by reliable changes in response.
(demographic, previous learning history, and present behaviors) that
have not been controlled in an experiment but may effect changes in the
occurrences of the dependent variable. Single-subject designs control
for subject confounding variables by comparing the subject's performance
under one condition with his performance under other conditions.
Behavior that is not based on
contingencies that are actually in existence but is reinforced by chace.
Ex: A child might wish on a star for a bicycle and believe that his
wish caused him to get it for his birthday.
The behavior that is achieved at
the end of a behavior modification program. The terminal behavior is
described according to all its relevant behavioral dimensions and is
usually assigned a criterion by which an acceptable level of performance
is to be judged.
Time out from positive
reinforcement is a procedure in which access to the sources of various
forms of reinforcement are removed for a particular period, contingent
upon the emission of a response. The opportunity to receive
reinforcement is contingently removed for a specified time.
A facility that is arranged in
such a manner that the individual placed therein has little likelihood
of receiving reinforcement from the environment. The place in which time
out from positive reinforcement occurs.
An object that can be exchanged
at a later time for another reinforcing item or activity. The extent to
which tokens are reinforcing or take on the properties of a generalized
reinforcer is dependent on the individual's experience and on what
back-up items are available.
The physical nature of the
responses that compose the operant. Ex: How hard the lever was pushed,
by which hand, and how long a time it stayed depressed, the movement of
the body during observed motor off-task.
The effect that learning a task
has on the learning of another task. If having learned the first task
facilitates learning the second task, it is called positive; if learning
the first task interferes with learning the second task, then it is