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What are the principles of behavior modification?


What are the principles of behavior modification?



Behavior modification is a prime example of the application of the laboratory. Numerous experiments on learning and their implications to behavior modification have been done. Some of these researchers developed theories and recommendations for behavior modification for example, Bandura (1969), Craighead, Kazdin Mohaney (1981), Houston (1976), Skinner (1938), Waston and Rayner (1920), and Wolpe (1958, 1973).
Below are some of principles derived from their work.
i) Principle of positive reinforcement – To improve or increase an individual’s performance of a certain activity, arrange for an immediate reward after each correct immediate benefit to the individual. It may not be learned at all if benefits are delayed.

ii) Principle of Shaping Behavior also known as Successive Approximations Principle - To teach a person to act in a manner in which he/she has seldom or never behaved, reward successive steps to the final behavior. Reward successive improvements instead of waiting for perfect behavior. Shaping means rewarding actions that are closer and closer approximations to a desired response. If a response is complicated, it may never occur and therefore will not be rewarded. If I want to reward a retarded child for saying “ball” I may begin by rewarding the child for saying anything that starts with a b sound.

iii) Principle of Social Reinforcement – showing recognition or approval of another person. Praise, attention, support and even flattery encourage friendly or socially acceptable behavior among people.

iv) Time out – is a procedure that usually involves removing the individual from a situation in which reinforcement for undesired behavior occurs. Time out prevents reward from following an undesirable response: it is a variation of non-reinforcement. Time out includes isolation, seclusion, imprisonment, and detention.

v) Principle of non-reinforcement – an action that is not followed by reward will occur less frequently and eventually suffer extinction.

vi) Principle of Extinction – if a response is not followed by reward after it has been repeated many times, it will go away. To stop an individual from acting in a particular way, you may arrange conditions that he/she receives no rewards following the undesired act. Behaviour not followed by reinforcement tends to be extinguishes (forgotten). Extinction and non- reinforcement are one and the same principle.

vii)The Incompatible Alternative Principle involves rewarding alternative behavior. To stop an individual acting in a particular way, you reward an alternatives action that is inconsistent with or cannot be performed at the same time as the undesired act for example, telling lies versus telling the truth. The alternative behavior may be a distraction because the two behaviors cannot be performed at the same time.

viii) Principle of Punishment – If a response is followed by discomfort or an undesirable effect, the response will be suppressed (but not necessarily extinguished). For example, caning and/or scolding children when their behavior is socially unacceptable (stealing, fighting etc).

ix) Principle of Modeling and Imitation – To teach in individual a new way of behaving allow him/her to observe another person (preferably a prestigious and knowledgeable person performing the desired behavior. Note that adequate or inadequate models can influence a variety of behavior which may be good or bad. They are acquired through
observational learning.

x) Satiation Principle – To stop a person from acting in a particular way, you allow him/her to continue performing the undesired act until he/she gets tired of it. This method is called satiation principle because the individual may become satiated with the consequences of continuing his/her actions as a result of fatigue or boredom for example, asking a noise
maker to come to school on Saturday afternoon and shout for one hour. The satiation principle should not be used when behaviour is harmful that is, when it is clear that a continuation of the behavior will result in someone being hurt. For example, allowing a bully to continue beating smaller children might eventually cure the bully of his habit, but a number of innocent children would be hurt. Satiation principle cannot be allowed for cigarette smoking because smoking involves some long-range health hazards.

xi) Principle of Negative Reinforcement – This is ending an aversive situation when individual does the accepted behaviors. For example, detaining students in class until they do their homework.

xii)Principle of Aversive Conditioning – when a positive stimulus (e.g. drinking alcohol) is repeatedly paired with an aversive stimulus (e.g. electric shock), the result is that the positive stimulus will come to elicit the response formerly elicited by the aversive stimulus (avoidance behavior). Aversive conditioning is also known as Avoidance Principle – In
teaching a person the situation to be avoided (or some simultaneously present to the person the situation to be avoided (or some representation of it) and some aversive condition (or its representation). For example, to teach dangers of over-speeding show drivers the situation to be avoided (speeding and unlawful driving) with aversive conditions (accident victims). This may influence drivers to avoid over speeding.

xiii) Fear Reduction Principle also known as Systematic Desensitization – To help a person overcome his/her fear of a particular situation, gradually increase his/her exposure to the feared situation while he/she is otherwise comfortable, relaxed, secure or rewarded. Pair comfort with fear and gradually expose the client to the feared situation. Fear must be
faced, but it can be faced gradually in small steps while the person is engaged in pleasant activities. The stronger the fear, the more gradually it must be presented and the longer it will take to overcome it. To overcome fear one has got to learn to relax because a person cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time. The incompatibility of anxiety and relaxation is often used by professional counselors to reduce anxieties of their clients. Parents and teachers can also use incompatible activities to help children overcome their fears or anxieties.

xiv) Principle of Assertiveness or Assertion Training – To help an individual learn to interact with others so that he/she knows what to say (content) to elicit a desired response (consequence) and how and when (timing) to do so. It involves making one to express one- self clearly and precisely and demanding one’s rights. The person is taught skills so that he/she can stand for his/her rights and be precise and non-aggressive when interacting with others or when making demands.
francis1897 answered the question on March 17, 2023 at 06:15

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