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Chapter 1_ Definition and Characteristics of Applied ...

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An Overview ofAppliedBehavior Analysis
Is an extension of Experimental Analysis of Behavior to applied settingsIs not the same as behavior modificationUses cognition in its approachFocuses on clinically or socially relevant behaviorsIs used in many settingsMedicine EducationBusiness RehabilitationMain focusBehavior management for youth disorders or problems
Primarily focus on antecedents and consequences that alter behaviorCognitive aspects are not emphasizedbeliefs, perceptions, thoughts, expectationsInterventions focus on overt behavior.Before, during, following a behaviorPrimarily uses operant conditioning techniquesUses experimental and quasi-experimental techniques
History of ABA
Late 1800’s and Early 1900’s
Sensory PsychologyDominated by focus on sensoryprocessesHelmholtz, Weber, Fechner and othersVision,Audition, Perceptual processes etc.Statesof consciousness, images, & other mental processesStructuralism, Functionalism, etc.Wundt, James and othersClinicalFreud and othersExperimentalThorndike
Assumes that a mental or “inner” dimension exists that differs from a behavioral dimensionMental phenomena directly cause or mediate some forms of behaviorDominated Western intellectual thought & most psychological theories (e.g. Descartes, Freud, Piaget)Still occurs in context of cognitive psychology today
Wundt,Titchner, WertheimerRejectedall events thatwerenot operationally defined by objective assessmentUsed IntrospectionRestrictedactivities to descriptions of behaviorMadeno scientificmanipulationsDidnot address causal questions
Founder of School of BehaviorismWrote a Landmark Paper:Psychologyas theBehaviorist Views it.Changed the direction of PsychologyArguedthat subject matter for psychology should be the study of observable behavior, not states of mind or mental processesCreatedfoundation for the study of behavior as a naturalscienceCreated the groundwork for the Neo-Behaviorists
ABA Comes From Three Areas
BehaviorismPhilosophy of the science ofbehaviorWatson and OthersExperimentalAnalysisofBehavior(EAB)Basicresearch in the study of behaviorSkinner and othersIntroduction of Journal AppliedBehavior Analysis(ABA)Development of a technology for improving behaviorCan only be understood in the context of the philosophy & basic research traditions & findings
Experimental Analysis of Behavior
B.F. Skinner’sThe Behavior of Organisms(1938/1966)Formally began the experimental branch of behavior analysisSummarized his laboratory research from 1930-1937Discussed two types of behaviorRespondentOperant
ReflexivebehaviorIvan Pavlov (1927/1960)Respondents are elicited (“brought out”) by stimuli that immediately precede themAntecedent stimulus & response it elicits form a functional unit called areflexInvoluntary responsesOccur whenever eliciting stimulus is presentS-S-R Model (CC) or S-R model (Instrumental Cond.)
Operant Behavior
Thorndike began basic idea.SkinnerDeveloped and Identified SpecificallyBehavioris shaped through the consequences that immediately follow itThree term contingencyS-R-S modelBehaviors that are influenced by stimulus changes that have followed the behavior in the past
Namedas a new science by SkinnerOutlined specific methodology for its practice:The rate or frequency of response is the most common dependent variableRepeated or continuous measurement is made of carefully defined response classesWithin-subject experimental comparisons are used instead of designs comparing the behavior of experimental & controlgroupsVisualanalysis of graphed data is preferred over statistical inferenceA description of functional relations is valued over formal theory testing
Skinner & colleagues
Conductedmany laboratory experiments between the 1930’s -1950’sDiscovered & verified basic principles of operant behaviorSame principles continue to provide the empirical foundation for behavior analysis today
WroteextensivelyVery influential in the guiding practice of the science of behavior & in proposing the application of the principles of behavior to new areasWalden Two(1948)Science and Human Behavior(1953)About Behaviorism(1974)Philosophy of science became known as radicalbehaviorismContrast with methodological behaviorism
Methodological Behaviorism
Considersbehavioral events that cannot be publicly observed to be outside the realm of thescienceRejects all events that are not operationally defined by objective assessmentDeny existence of “inner variables” or consider them outside the realm of scientific accountAcknowledge the existence of mental events but do not consider them in the analysis of behaviorUse scientific manipulations to search for functional relationships between eventsRestrictive view since it ignores major areas ofimportance (cognition)
Radical BehaviorismDidnot object to cognitive psychology’s concern with thoughts & feelings (i.e. events taking place “inside the skin”)Referred to these as “private events”Considered them to be behavior andanalyzedwith the same conceptual & experimental tools used to analyze publicly observable behavior
Three Assumptions About Private Events
Privateevents such as thoughts and feelings are behaviorBehavior that takes place within the skin is distinguished from other (“public”) behavior only by its inaccessibilityPrivate behavior has no special properties & is influenced by (i.e. is a function of) the same kinds of variables as publicly accessible behavior
Development ofApplied Behavior Analysis
Radical behaviorism (Skinner’s behaviorism)Includes & seeks to understand all human behaviorFar-reaching & thoroughgoingDramatic departure from other conceptual systems
Fuller (1949)One of the first studies to report the human application of operant behaviorParticipant: 18-year-old boy with profound mental retardationArm-raising response was conditioned by injecting a small amount of a warm sugar-milk solution into participant’s mouth every time he moved his right arm
Ayllon& Michael (1959)
“The Psychiatric Nurse as a Behavioral Engineer”Formed the basis for branch of behavior analysis that would later be calledApplied Behavior Analysis(ABA)Described techniques based on principles of behavior to improve the functioning of chronic psychotic or mentally retarded residents
Researchersbegan to apply principles of behaviortoimprove socially importantbehaviorTechniques for measuring behavior & controlling & manipulating variables were sometimes unavailable, or inappropriateLittlefunding was availableNoready outlet for publishing studiesDifficult to communicate findings
Many Applications Were Made
Educationis a major area ofimpactProvided the foundation for:behavioral approaches to curriculum designinstructional methodsclassroom managementgeneralization and maintenance of learning
Formalbeginning ofABAJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) began publicationFirstjournal in U.S. To deal with applied problemsGaveresearchersan outletfor publishing their findingsFlagship journal of ABA
Baer, Wolf, &Risley
Founding fathers of the new discipline (ABA)Paper “SomeCurrent Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis”Definedthe criteria for judging adequacy of research & practice in ABA & outlined the scope of work for those in the scienceMost widely cited publication in ABARemains standard description of the discipline
Seven Defining Dimensions
Forresearch or behavior change programs:AppliedBehavioralAnalyticTechnologicalConceptualEffectiveGenerality
Investigatessocially significant behaviors with immediate importance to the participant(s)Behavior Examples include:SocialLanguageAcademicDaily livingSelf-careVocationalRecreation and/or leisure
Need precisemeasurement of the actual behaviorNeed todocumentthat it was the participant’s behaviorchangedKey: Thebehavioris inneed of improvement and it is a study of behavior (not about behavior)
Demonstratesexperimental control over the occurrenceandnon-occurrence of the behaviorFunctional relationships are demonstratedAlso needs to be replicable
Writtendescription of all procedures in the study is sufficiently complete and detailed to enable others to replicate itAll operative procedures are identified and described in detail & clarityReplicable technology
Behaviorchange interventions are derived from basic principles of behaviorAllows research consumersto derive other similar procedures from the same principle(s)Assistsin integrating discipline into a system instead ofcreating a “collectionof tricks”
Improvesbehavior sufficiently to produce practical results for the participant(s)Improvements in behavior must reach clinical or social significanceExtent to which changes in the target behavior(s) result in noticeable changes
Producesbehavior changes that last over time…OR appearin other environments (other than the one in which intervention wasimplemented)OR spreadto other behaviors (those not directly treated by the intervention)
Createdby the focus onAccessible environmental variables that reliably influence behaviorReliance on direct & frequent measurement to detect changes in behaviorDetect successes and failuresAllow changes to be made
Visible, explicit, & straightforwardOf value across a very broad spectrum of fields
Notprohibitively complicated or arduousVariety of individuals are able to implement principles and interventionsInvolvesmorethanlearning to do some procedures
Providespractitioners with real tools that workRaises confidenceIncreases confidence for future challenges
Possibilitiesfor each individual (Strain et al., 1992)Detect small improvementsPositive outcomes yield a more optimistic attitude about future successesPeer-reviewed literature provides many examples of success
Applied behavior analysis is:A scientific approach to improving socially significant behavior…In which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior…And to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement in behavior
SixKey Components of ABA
Guidedby attitudes of methods of scientific inquiryAll behavior change procedures are described & implemented in a systematic, technological mannerOnly procedures conceptually derived from the basic principles of behavior are circumscribed by the fieldFocus is socially significant behaviorSeeks to make meaningful improvement in important behaviorSeeksto produce an analysis of the factors responsible for improvement
Domains ofBehaviorAnalytic Science
Four domainsBehaviorismExperimentalAnalysisofBehavior(EAB)AppliedBehavior Analysis(ABA)Professional practiceBehavior analysts may work in one or more of the four domainsDomains are very interrelated & influence one another
Pursuestheoretical& philosophical issuesConceptual basis of behavior principles as it relates across many spectrums
Experimental analysis of behavior (EAB)
Does basicresearchExperiments in laboratory settings with both human participants and nonhuman subjectsGoal of discovering & clarifying fundamental principles of behavior
AppliedBehavior Analysis(ABA)
Does appliedresearchExperiments are aimed at discovering & clarifying functional relations between socially significant behavior & its controlling variablesDesire to contribute to further development of a humane & effective technology of behavior change
Professional practice
Providingbehavior analytic services to consumersDesign, implement, & evaluate behavior changeprogramsDiscovered by basic researchersExperimentally validated for their effects on socially significant behavior by applied researchers
Lots of aspects to ABAHas lots of applicabilityHas a solidtheoretical coreHas made lots of contributions to helping people and organizations





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Chapter 1_ Definition and Characteristics of Applied ...