Psychology 1110 Assignment #2
Objective: The goal of this assignment is to show what you know about behavior modification by using material from Chapter 8 to analyze and change a problem behavior. Overview: To complete this assignment, you’ll need to come up with a specific behavior that you would like to change. This behavior needs to be something important (meaningful, worth the effort) and ongoing. It can be a bad habit that you would like to stop or change and it can be a new habit that you would like to start. For grading purposes, the main point of the assignment is to show how well you understand the concepts in Chapter 8 to analyze your behavior the way a behaviorist would and then come up with a detailed, accurate, creative, and effective plan to change it. I am happy to consult with you about your ideas for a problem behavior, your preliminary analysis, and plan ideas. Just don’t wait until the last minute to start! Report: To ensure you earn the most points, you’ll need to submit a report with the following information. Please use these section headings in writing your report to make sure it’s complete. Please double-space your report.
1. Problem behavior: Briefly describe your problem behavior in everyday
language. You don’t need to use behavioral terms here, but be specific about what the problem behavior is that you’d like to change.
2. Classical or Operant: Briefly explain whether your behavior fits under classical or operant conditioning. Explain your reasoning.
3. History of behavior: Explain how this behavior started. Give historical details (when, where, how) as best you can. If your problem behavior is something like “not exercising,” you’ll be explaining your history of exercising and not exercising. In addition to describing the behavior in everyday language, you’ll also need to explain the behavioral concepts that were involved in how this behavior started and changed over the past. If you picked classical conditioning, you’ll be talking about those terms (acquisition, UCS, UCR, CS, CR, etc.). If you picked operant conditioning, you’ll be using those terms (positive/negative reinforcement, positive/negative punishment, etc.). You need to explain the behavioral concepts that apply.
4. Current status of behavior: Describe the current status of the problem behavior, including things like when, where, and how often it occurs. Also explain what behavioral factors are involved in maintaining the behavior today.
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5. Behavior change goal: State what specific changes you’d like to make in your problem behavior. You can have more than one goal, but all changes you describe must be specific so you’ll know if you meet the goal(s).
6. Behavior change plan: Your behavior change plan should incorporate relevant concepts from Chapter 8 that apply to your behavior. If you decided that your behavior was learned through classical conditioning, then you need to use classical conditioning terms in your plan (e.g., extinction, spontaneous recovery, etc.). If you decided that your behavior was learned through operant conditioning, then you need to use operant conditioning terms in your plan (e.g., positive/negative reinforcement, positive/negative punishment, extinction, schedules of reinforcement, etc.). When you use a term from Chapter 8, you should explain it (e.g., “This would be an example of negative reinforcement because…”).
Your plan needs to be specific, accurate, creative, realistic, and have a good chance at being effective. Most behavior problems do not change easily or quickly, so you need to incorporate many ideas in creative ways to have a good chance of reaching your goal. Just remember that you are trying to show off your mastery of Chapter 8 concepts, so you need to identify and explain them correctly at every opportunity. Do not throw in concepts and terms that do not apply to your behavior.
Length: The typical length for this report is 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages (classical conditioning reports are usually shorter). But the overall length of your report depends on a lot of factors, including how much history you provide and how many ideas you incorporate into your plan. Above all, make sure your report is complete and detailed. Evaluation: I will grade your report based upon three factors:
1. Behavior Analysis (16 points): How well you describe and analyze your problem behavior using Chapter 8 ideas (behavioral history and current status, historical and current behavioral factors, correct use of specific concepts)
2. Behavior Change Plan (24 points): How well you use Chapter 8 ideas to develop an accurate, specific, realistic, creative, and effective behavior modification plan
3. Writing (10 points): How well you write the report (format, spelling, grammar, punctuation, organization)
Your report should be typed, double-spaced, and should be turned in by the beginning of class on the due date to receive full credit. If you must miss class on the day this is due, you can use the D2L Dropbox to submit your report electronically.