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Applied Behavior Analysis, Essay Example

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Essay

Focusing on aspiring students who wish to pursue a career in Applied BehaviorAnalysis (ABA), James Johnston in his book, Radical Behaviourism for ABA Practitioners leads readers through a logically planned sequence of conceptual issues that relate to the science of behaviour. Furthermore, the author also highlights the everyday efforts of how practitioners can resolve behavioural challenges. The beginning chapters discuss basic assumptions about the nature of behaviorand also clarify how behavioris reciprocated.

Based on this foundation, the latter chapters explain difficult terms, how practitioners can avoid conceptual confusion, and also problems that practitioners face in terms of service delivery. The book also shows how to make a meaningful difference in the practice of behavioranalysis, in a holistic sense. The author makes applied behavioranalysis simple to understand and easier for students to transition from the university to the position of clinician, supervisor or administrator (Johnston, 2013).

Applied BehaviorAnalysis, being the second edition of the book by John Cooper, Timothy Heron, and William Heward, provides a clear and complete description of how to systematically change significant behaviorand understand the change process behind it. Outlining set principles and procedure, the authors take more of a methodical view compared to Johnston, as aforementioned. Comprehensively, the book also is intended for a wider audience that includes students, educators and practising practitioners.

In addition, it also contains more than 250 technical terms and concepts in the field of applied behavioranalysis, and also highlights such topics as negative reinforcement, motivating operations, functional behaviorassessment, verbal behaviour, and ethical considerations for applied behavioranalysts (Cooper, Heron and Heward, 2007). Each of these five topics are written by some of the leading scholars in behavioranalysis, and the book provides a complete picture of what applied behavioranalysis consists of through the authors’ views.

Lastly, Julie Vargas in her second edition of BehaviorAnalysis for Effective Teaching, writes to an audience of primarily teachers and human service professionals on how to utilize behavioranalysis principles in the classroom or workplace itself. Providing real examples and counselling insights, this book shows how professionals can understand and respond to different sorts of behaviortypes (Vargas, 2013).

By integrating effective classroom instruction with behaviormanagement, the book illustrates the way that teachers in particular can respond to their students. In addition, the author includes different pedagogical strategies, including problem solving exercises and other illustrations. For the human service professionals, there are additional resources that focus on the practical side of clinical services. This focus on behavioranalysis through the lens of effective teaching makes it easier for teachers and professionals to understand and cope with behaviours of students and patients that they come across on a daily basis.

Mentalistic behavioris explained as a form of introspection by which an individual relates to mental phenomena, such as thought patterns in the brain that inclines towards a particular form of behaviour. However, environmental behavioris often attributed to individuals who display a place attachment or identify with their environmental surroundings, whether it is a home or city. A behavioranalyst would explain free will as the basic right of every individual to account for his or her own actions; furthermore, choice would be explained as the option between two or more outcomes that an individual must make as mutually exclusive (Johnston, 2013).

Private events, as associated with the area of radical behaviour, pertain to such events as thinking and feeling. For example, an individual may think aloud often consciously when in private. However, thinking often occurs inside the mind, and does not usually manifest outwardly. Such radical behaviorshows that we are each observers of our own private behaviour.  Furthermore, radical behavioris known as the more ‘radical’ form of behaviourism, mainly because it refers to the area of psychology that deals with the experimental analysis of behaviour. Radical behaviourism therefore differs with other schools of behavioural thought, since it analyses the role of private events, emotions, and other events that are not necessarily supported by psychologists in other areas.

The three major areas of behaviourism, experimental analysis of behavior(EAB) and applied behavioranalysis (ABA) differ broadly in their meanings. Firstly, behaviourism is the study of internal behavioras it develops from birth to old age. Secondly, the experimental analysis of behavioris associated with radical behaviourism, in that it analysed the role of emotional behaviour. Thirdly, applied behavioranalysis is also known as behaviormodification, which is the learning and treatment of different types of human behaviour. Applied behaviormodification has also been used to improve attendance in high school and note-taking abilities of students, mainly by introducing different interventions in education and also incentivising the process of assessments.

Behavioris often described as a range of actions, whether internal, external; conscious or unconscious. For example, an internal behaviormay be a bad mood, while an external behaviormay be carelessness that causes a road accident. Response, on the other hand, is the actual reaction to certain stimuli. In effect, a positive response to stimuli would be open affirmation, whereas a negative response to stimuli would be non-verbal rejection. Response class, furthermore, is a set of reactions that are categorized for particular situation. For example, most people react to certain smells with repulsion, whereas others may feel drawn to certain smells, such as cigarette smoke.

Positive and negative reinforcement are two models in behavioranalysis that are commonly analysed. Ivan Pavlov made a popular example of this when training a dog to respond to the sound of a bell that indicated feeding time. The dog was positively reinforced to respond to the sound of the bell by salivating, even when food was not present. However, negative reinforcement would occur if a chemical replaced the food by the ringing of the bell.

Positive punishment, however, is similarly related to this topic, in that an unpleasant stimulus is used to decrease certain behaviour, such as public embarrassment by parents to make a child stop his or her negative actions. Negative punishment, however, is the removal of pleasant stimulus to decrease certain behaviour. In this instance, a child may be removed from certain ‘positive’ privileges, such as watching a favourite TV show, in order to stop their ‘negative’ behaviour, which may have to do with refusing to complete chores.

Contingency is often a procedure defined as the dependency of events, especially in relation to negative punishment (Vargas, 2013). For example, the individual who approaches an electrified fence and accidently touches it and receives a shock, then identifies a contingency between touching the fence and receiving an electric shock, and does not repeat the incident. There are certain differences between operant behaviorand respondent behaviour. Operant behavioroccurs on the environment, and is compared to when stimulus is presented, such as candy to a baby, to identify whether the baby will respond to an individual’s call; usually, the baby responds to the call by taking the candy – and this is known as respondent behaviour.

The difference between conditioned reinforcement and unconditioned reinforcement vary slightly, as shown below. Conditioned reinforcement occurs when stimuli acquires its function when paired with a reinforcer. For example, the sound tone of a correct answer on a game show will often be reinforced by viewers, to an extent that whenever viewers hear the sound tone, they will instantly be conditioned to expect a correct answer. However, unconditioned reinforcement is stimuli that does not require pairing with a reinforcer and has acquired its function by other means. In such an instance, an individual may eat a lot of chips, but another person may not eat as many chips; yet the value of food as a reinforcer between them.

Discriminant stimulus is a type of controlling stimulus which increases the possibility that a certain behaviorwill occur, which depends on the level of reinforcement. For example, an individual may fast on a certain month each year, and removes himself or herself from the proximity of sources of food, being the discriminant stimulus. This may result in a behaviordifferent to that which the individual normally displays, especially if the individual eats a lot. On the other hand, a certain individual may give alms to the poor regularly, in particular to an organization which he is allied to. Despite the economic times, he or she is still compelled to give, even though the same money can be used for other purposes; however, the individual gives particularly to this need.

As mentioned earlier, Pavlov’s dog is an example of classical or respondent conditioning, in which the dog responds to the sound of the bell and salivates after the food, whether there is food present or not. In particular the dog has been conditioned to respond to the sound of the bell. This makes the dog salivate every time the bell sounds (Vargas, 2013).

Controlling variables are often difficult to identify, for three reasons. Often, independent variables rely on a dependent variable to reduce the confounding effects of different variables. For instance, when experimenting to identify the benefits of nutrition, which is the independent variable, on organism growth, which is the dependent variable, the age of the organism, which is the third variable, needs to be controlled. Technology of behaviorhas been proposed as an improvement to making society better, as is the introduction of autonomous agents such as robots. These robots could be programmed to carry out traditionally human tasks with the overriding control of humans.

However, such autonomous agents as introduced through the technology of behaviorwould incorporate behavioural and analytic aspects. These are important when considering imitating human emotions, thought processes and practices that often have to be hardwired into such autonomous agents as robots. Nevertheless, these are necessary in order to function both efficiently and effectively.

In such a situation when an individual, namely Andrew, implements an intervention with another individual who has reading issues, a technological intervention can be an iPad, which can be used in conjunction with a reading app that teaches the individual basic reading skills. A conceptual intervention would take the form of reading and repeating simple phrases or jingles that are easy to learn and remember. An effective intervention would consist of teaching the individual how to read using an instructional method. Lastly, a generalizable intervention would be to read a simple storybook that is easy to follow and teaches the individual new ways to learn.

References

Cooper, J., Heron, T., and Heward, W. (2007). Applied BehaviorAnalysis (2nd ed.).  New Jersey: Pearson-Merrill Hall.

Johnston, J. (2013). Radical Behaviourism for ABA Practitioners. New York: Sloan.

Vargas, J. (2013). BehaviorAnalysis for Effective Teaching. Kentucky: Routledge-Taylor Francis.

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