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Behavior Modification Applications: Potential Final Exam Questions

Chapter 16 [Questions 1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 15, 16, 19, 21]

1. Define stimulus generalization and give an example that is not in this chapter.

Stimulus generalization is the procedure of reinforcing a response in the presence of a stimulus or situation, and the effect of the response becoming more probable in the presence of another stimulus or situation. Basically, a person responds the same way to two different stimuli. An example of this would be: a child seeing a black cat and calling it a cat, then seeing a black dog and calling it a cat as well.

2. Explain the difference between stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination. Describe examples illustrating the difference.

Stimulus generalization is the procedure of reinforcing a response in the presence of a stimulus or situation, and the effect of the response becoming more probable in the presence of another stimulus or situation. An example is of a child in habit of swearing now swears in a different situation, at home, and there will be a different result than at school. Parents are likely to punish/reprimand the child’s word choice. Stimulus discrimination is when a response occurs to a discriminative stimulus (a stimulus in the presence of which a response will be reinforced) and not a stimulus for reinforcement. An example is when a child swears at school, stimulus of peers increases this behaviour as they reinforce it. [Stimulus generalization- person responds the same way to 2 different stimuli, stimulus discrimination- person discriminates between 2 different stimuli.]

4. What is a primary distinction between stimulus generalization involving a common-element stimulus class and stimulus generalization involving an equivalence class?

Common-class: more unlearned; same object but different form; common characteristics Equivalence class: more learned; one common element but different items; no common characteristics

5. Define or describe unlearned response generalization due to physical similarity of responses, and give an example.

The more physically similar two responses are, the more unlearned response generalization will occur between them. If you learn a forehand shot in racquetball, chances are that you would be able to perform a forehand shot in squash or tennis. The responses involved are very similar. Likewise, you will probably find roller blading easier to learn if you have already learned to ice skate because the responses involved in the two activities are similar.

11. Briefly list four tactics for programming operant stimulus generalization. Give an example of each.

1. Train in the Target Situation.
Make the final stages of the training situation as similar to the target situation in as many ways as possible. An example of this could be if a parent wants their child to count out the right change to buy a bag of candy. The ideal place to do this would be in a store that sells candy (of course, some preliminary training in a controlled setting may be necessary)

2. Vary the Training Conditions.
This might be done by conducting training sessions with relatively little control over the stimuli in the presence of which correct responses are reinforced. An example could be when teaching a child to be cautious of strangers, it is best to do this in a public area where there is no control over the background stimuli.

3. Program Common Stimuli.
This is done by developing the behaviour to specific stimuli that are present in both the training and target stimuli. An example could be when preparing a child for school, it is best to train with the same academic materials.

4. Train Sufficient Stimulus Exemplars.
This technique increases the probability of appropriate generalization to new stimuli and situations because of the large number and variety of stimuli and situations to which training has occurred. An example is when teaching a child to...
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