Case Studies

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Behavior Modification Case Studies

Case #1
1. Identify the target behavior and describe that behavior in 1 or 2 sentences. The target behavior would be physically using one or two hands to grab a toy and place it directly in the toy box. This does not include placing it in front of, to the side of, or behind the toy box, and does not include throwing or kicking the toys into the toy box. 2. Define Operant Conditioning and discuss how this method works to increase desired behavior. Operant conditioning is a type of learning that takes place through reinforcements and punishments of behavior. As a result of the consequences, the frequency of the behavior either increases (reinforcement) or decreases (punishment) the likelihood that the behavior will occur again in the future (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Reinforcement and punishment have a greater effect when it occurs immediately after or within a few seconds of the targeted behavior. The longer the delay between the occurrence of the behavior and the reinforcement or punishment, the less likely it will result in a change of behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Behavior achieved through positive reinforcement creates a stimulus that was not there prior to responding and behavior achieved through negative reinforcement removes a stimulus that was already present prior to responding. Mr. Kelley would like to increase the frequency of Bobby cleaning his room. In operant conditioning, targeted behaviors that need to be increased would be reinforced and would increase the frequency of the targeted behavior. Bobby picks up his toys and he is given an extra hour of playing video games. In Bobby’s case, the extra hour of video game playing (the stimulus) was not present prior to the response (cleaning his room) and the extra hour of video game playing will produce a higher frequency of Bobby cleaning his room. 3. Define positive reinforcement. What issues are involved in the selection of appropriate and effective reinforcement? Positive reinforcement occurs when a behavior is immediately followed by a stimulus that increases the frequency of future behavior in similar conditions (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). For example: Bobby’s father would like increase the frequency of Bobby cleaning his room and by applying positive reinforcement adding a stimulus such as praise or extra television time after he has cleaned his room will make him want to clean his room more often (increase the frequency of his behavior). Issues involved in selecting appropriate and effective reinforcement include: a) Initially setting a goal for reinforcement that is easy to achieve and then gradually increase the goal as performances improve (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Mr. Kelley could offer praise or increased attention to Bobby initially for picking up a set number of toys and then gradually increase the number of toys to be picked up before offering praise or added attention based on his prior performances. b) Use different reinforcers to ensure the desired behavior continues and does not lose its effectiveness (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Mr. Kelley could offer praise to Bobby the first couple of times he picks up his toys as desired and then offer extra television the next time and increased attention following that so that Bobby doesn’t become more or unaffected by the reinforcer. c) Combine response prompts and reinforcement. A response prompt is an extra stimulus that is used to help elicit a correct response. Response prompts can be in the form verbal instruction, modeling, or physical guidance (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Mr. Kelley could use modeling as a response prompt to show Bobby what he means and how he would like him to clean his room such as how he would like his toys picked up and where he would like them placed. d) For behaviors that require more time and effort use reinforcers that higher quality...
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