In Chapter Seven, we discuss the principles of operant conditioning and how they apply to behavior modification. For this assignment, you will have the opportunity to apply psychological principles to your own life by choosing a behavior of your own that you would like to change. You will identify the target behavior and how you intend to change it. You will then design, implement, and evaluate a behavior modification program to change your behavior. It is highly recommended that you try to establish or strengthen a desirable behavior. It will make this project more straightforward and easier to accomplish. You must set up your own behavior modification program; however, your TA will be a great consultant if you have any questions during the creation, implementation, data collection, or writing processes.
Each assignment should be 3-typed double-spaced pages of prose in length. This page-length requirement does not include your collected data logs or your required graphs. All materials should be typed (except data log dairies which can be handwritten legibly). This assignment will be graded based on how well you demonstrate the behavior modification techniques, include correct terminology, and provide thorough supporting data. You will also be graded on your writing (i.e. grammar, punctuation, and spelling). Your grade for this assignment is not based on how successful you are in actually changing your behavior!
In an effort to improve everyone’s writing skills, students must have their assignment proofread, marked-up, and signed by a peer from small group. Since not all students’ come to college with the same writing ability, we suggest that students also consider going to The Center for Writing and Communication (CWC) in the library. The CWC is the perfect place to get help for your writing needs! No matter what career you pursue, your writing proficiency will be important!
Create a behavior modification plan, implement it, and record data in order to change a chosen behavior. The principles of operant conditioning can be adapted to manage your own behavior. Here’s how…
A. Choose a target behavior. Identify the activity you want to change.
a. Describe the behavior to be modified. Some things to consider:
i. How is the behavior demonstrated? Consider the ABCs (antecedents, behaviors, and consequences)?
1. What are the antecedents to the behavior (i.e. when someone/something is/isn’t present does the behavior occur more/less frequently)?
2. Is the behavior a good choice for modification (e.g. does it occur often enough and is it under your control? Remember it is easier to increase a desired behavior than to decrease an undesirable one.)
3. What are the current consequences when you engage in the behavior you are trying to increase or the behavior you are trying to decrease?
b. Other things to consider about your target behavior;
i. What are probable causes of the behavior?
ii. What are the probable motivations/goals of the behavior?
iii. How is the behavior currently being reinforced?
B. Record baseline data. Record either how much time you currently spend performing the target behavior and/or count the number of desired or undesired responses you make each day. Collect data on baseline levels of the target behavior for one week before you begin your intervention. Be sure to reflect on the antecedents and consequences of your behavior. They can help inform your intervention.
C. Establish goals. Set goals for your treatment plan. Remember the principle of shaping. Set realistic goals for gradual improvement on each successive week. Also, set daily goals that add up to the weekly goal.
D. Choose reinforcers. If you meet your daily goal, what reward will you allow yourself? Daily rewards might be watching television, eating a candy bar, socializing with friends, playing a musical instrument, or whatever you enjoy. Also establish a weekly reward. If you reach your weekly goal, what reward will you allow yourself? A movie? A dinner out? A weekend hike? It is important to remember that a reinforcement is only successful if it is meaningful to you.
E. Design and describe your behavior modification intervention plan.
a. Complete a functional analysis of the target behavior and identify any relevant chains of behavior.
i. Detail the ABCs of the behavior chain (antecedents, behaviors, and consequences). Things to consider:
1. Where to focus your intervention (e.g. antecedent management or consequence control)?
2. Provision of replacement behavior?
3. Is the intervention plausible (i.e. can it be done simply)?
4. Is it realistic?
5. How long will the modification take (e.g. at least three weeks of data gathering once you begin your intervention, which comes after your one week of baseline data collection)?
6. How will data be collected (e.g. index cards, composition book, or spiral notebook)? Will you collect data on how much time you currently spend performing the target behavior or will you count the number of desired or undesired responses? Your data should be collected daily as the behavior is happening. Keep your data collection method easy to access and to use each day. Make objective measurements using a quantified measure of the target behavior.
7. What will constitute success? …failure?
F. Implement designed intervention plan.
a. Keep notes about whether original ideas were or were not successful and if they must be changed/tweaked as the intervention progresses. Any changes you make in the treatment program should be described and explained.
i. Some things to keep in mind: How will data be presented in the final write up (i.e. tracking frequency of behavior, severity of behavior, mastery of replacement behaviors)?
b. While behavior modification is occurring, record the collected data and keep it stored safely. Your data log diaries should include the date and time of day for each entry. (Remember: your grade depends on how thoroughly you approach this project.)
G. Record your progress. Gather and track data consistently during the course of the intervention. Keep accurate records of the amount of time spent each day on the desired activity or the number of times you make the desired response each day.
H. Reward successes. If you meet your daily goal, collect your reward. If you fall short, be honest with yourself and skip the reward. Do the same for your weekly goal. Record in your data if you collected your daily and/or weekly rewards.
I. Adjust your plan as you learn more about your behavior. Overall progress will reinforce your attempts at self-management.
J. Present results of your intervention.
a. You will graph your results and create a table.
b. Make your results visually appealing and clear by using Excel.
K. Evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention by completing a write-up of the intervention process.
i. Explain why you chose this particular behavior for intervention.
ii. Perform a functional analysis of the target behavior. Detail the ABCs of the behavior.
1. What “triggered” the behavior? What were the antecedents (What happened before the behavior)?
2. What “happened” (during your behavior of interest)?
3. What were the consequences?
4. What were the motivations for the behavior?
a. To gain something, to escape a task, to receive attention, etc.?
iii. Describe the intervention plan you designed.
1. What type(s) of operant conditioning did you use? (Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment, Negative Punishment)
2. Did you change the antecedent(s) or consequence(s) or both? How did you change these?
3. What were the consequences used in the intervention plan after the behavior? (reinforcements or punishments)
a. What were the short-term consequences used to change the behavior? (daily or sooner)
b. What were the long-term consequences used to change the behavior? (weekly)
4. Describe how changing your target behavior was a SMART goal? (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, Time-Bound)
iv. Discuss how the behavior plan was implemented.
1. Was the plan followed with fidelity (was the plan actually followed)? Describe how it was followed.
2. Was the plan too complicated/simple? How so?
3. Who implemented the plan (self, parent, peer)?
v. Present data from baseline and from the 3-week intervention phase (You can also include post intervention data).
1. Discuss data in a few sentences (do not need to discuss data for every day, just an overall discussion of the trends shown in your chart).
2. Determine best way to depict the gathered data (e.g. bar graph, xy scatter plot with trendlines, pie chart). Place graph at the end of your paper on a separate page (does not count as one of the 3-typed pages).
3. Ensure graph axes and legend (the box that labels what is being measured) are labeled appropriately.
4. Include data in an appendix.
vi. Was the behavior successfully modified?
1. Was the behavior plan successful? This will not determine pass/fail grade. How was the plan successful or not?
2. Write an overall assessment of the level of success of your program. You should include your personal observations about how well you accomplished your behavioral modification plan.
vii. What could be done differently next time to improve your behavior plan? What changes would you make if you were to continue to attempt to change this behavior?
The target behavior that I would like the paper to be on is sleeping habits; getting more sleep.