Principles of Behavior
eBook - ePub

Principles of Behavior

Richard W. Malott, Kelly T. Kohler

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  1. 492 pages
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Principles of Behavior

Richard W. Malott, Kelly T. Kohler

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Known for both its narrative style and scientific rigor, Principles of Behavior is the premier introduction to behavior analysis. Through an exploration of experimental, applied, and theoretical concepts, the authors summarize the key conversations in the field. They bring the content to life using humorous and engaging language and show students how the principles of behavior relate to their everyday lives. The text's tried-and-true pedagogy make the content as clear as possible without oversimplifying the concepts. Each chapter includes study objectives, key terms, and review questions that encourage students to check their understanding before moving on, and incorporated throughout the text are real-world examples and case studies to illustrate key concepts and principles.

This edition features some significant organizational changes: the respondent conditioning chapter is now Chapter 1, a general introduction to operant conditioning is now covered in Chapters 2 and 3, and the introduction to research methods is now covered in Chapter 4. These changes were made to help instructors prepare students for starting a research project at the beginning of the course. Two new chapters include Chapter 5 on the philosophy supporting behavior analysis, and Chapter 24 on verbal behavior that introduces B.F. Skinner's approach and terminology. This edition also features a new full-color design and over 400 color figures, tables, and graphs.

Principles of Behavior is an essential resource for both introductory and intermediate courses in behavior analysis. It is carefully tailored to the length of a standard academic semester and how behavior analysis courses are taught, with each section corresponding to a week's worth of coursework. The text can also function as the first step in a student's journey into becoming a professional behavior analyst at the BA, MA, or PhD/EdD level. Each chapter of the text is integrated with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) task list, serving as an excellent primer to many of the BACB tasks.

The text is supported by a set of PowerPoint slides with figures, tables, and graphs for every chapter and a robust test bank with multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, and short answer questions for every chapter for a total of over 1, 500 questions.

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Respondent Conditioning


Respondent Conditioning

Behavior Analyst Certification Board 5th Edition Task List Items
B-3. Define and provide examples of respondent and operant conditioning. Throughout

Behavioral Clinical Psychology/Behavioral Counseling


At 3 a.m., Zach awoke to the sound of his 6-year-old son screaming and Spot barking. He ran to Sammy’s room. The little boy was crouched by the side of his bed, screaming and crying.
Spot’s barking moved closer and closer to Sammy’s window. The outside door rattled. Next the bathroom door rattled. Then a shadow fell across the bedroom doorway.
Zach: Sammy, calm down, Son.
Zach (at the doorway): Who’s there?
Police sirens whined toward the house. Three police cars screeched to a halt in the driveway, their flashing red lights creating an eerie Halloween effect.
Neighbor (in the driveway shouting): In the house! In the house!
Four police officers ran into the house. And Zach saw the intruder standing at the end of the hallway, paralyzed with their 42” flat screen in his hands.
Officer: Surrender!
They handcuffed the thief and pushed him into the back seat of the nearest police car.
The danger was over, thanks to their neighbor who’d called the police when the thief had tried to enter his own home. And the episode ended, but not for Sammy. Ever since, Sammy was frightened at night.
Sammy didn’t want to go to bed, and when he did, it was only because Zach insisted. He wanted the lights on and asked Zach to sleep in his room with him. The boy would do everything possible to stay awake. Often he played Batman until he got on Zach’s nerves. They both ended up being awake a good part of every night.
Zach was a widower and raised Sammy with no extra help, and now he was arriving late to work. And Sammy began to bring home bad grades, though he’d been a top student. So for help, Zach went to Dr. Dawn Baker, a behavioral clinical psychologist. (As we follow her throughout this book, we’ll see how she uses the principles of behavior to help people with their psychological problems [i.e., behavioral problems].)
Dawn asked Zach to make a note of each night Sammy was frightened. She also asked him to give Sammy a flashlight. But he could only use it briefly, when he was frightened, and couldn’t keep it on all night.
Ten days later, Zach brought Sammy to see Dawn.
During the first interview, she found that 6-year-old Sammy loved Batman.
Dawn: Sammy, close your eyes. Imagine you’re watching TV with your dad. And the Batman program has just finished. Your dad tells you it’s time for bed, and just then Batman appears and sits down next to you.
Sammy: Yes.
Dawn: Great! Now imagine that Batman tells you he needs you on his missions to catch the bad guys. But he wants you to get your sleep in your bedroom, and he’ll call on you when he needs help. Isn’t that cool!
Sammy: Yes.
Dawn: Now Dad puts you in your bed and leaves both of the lights on and the three blinds up. Batman is also there. Can you see?
Sammy: Yes, I can see Daddy and Batman in my room and all the lights are on.
Dawn: Well, if you’re scared, raise your finger.
Dawn repeated this fantasy, but each time she made it a little more frightening—one blind down, two down, three down; one light off, two off; Zach talking, then leaving the room; Spot barking in the distance, then next to the window; the outside door rattling, then the bathroom door; shadows falling across the window, and then across the room. Well, not really more frightening. It might have been, but she only gradually increased the “threat.” And Sammy reacted less fearfully with each repeated exposure. And besides, she made sure Batman was there, just in case.
Sammy lifted his finger if he felt afraid. When he raised his finger, Dawn asked if he could see Batman with him, what he was doing, the color of his clothes and so on.
Dawn used this technique for four sessions. In the first three sessions, she covered increasingly frightening situations. And she reviewed all of those situations in the fourth session.
Zach recorded each day that Sammy was frightened. We call this the baseline, the period before we try to change things. So during the 10 days before Dawn started helping Sammy, he was frightened every night. But while working with Dawn, the number of nights Sammy was frightened gradually decreased. Between days 36 and 60, Sammy was frightened only on three nights. After that, they recorded no more problems for the 3 months that Dawn followed up with Sammy. Batman’s buddy had become fearless at last.


  1. 1.Describe an intervention for eliminating the fear of darkness.
    1. Describe the anxiety-generating situation.
    2. How did Dawn use fantasies to get rid of the fear of darkness?



Sammy’s problem is common among children his age; it is often described as a darkness phobia (fear of darkness). Traditionally, we say that the term phobia refers to a long-lasting, intense, irrational fear.*
This fear is produced by what once were neutral stimuli. Those neutral stimuli have acquired aversive properties because they’ve been associated with other stimuli that already produce fear.
Young children who develop early illness and require a doctor’s attention cry or exhibit other emotional behaviors when the doctor approaches them. For these children, seeing the doctor and experiencing aversive events such as getting a hypodermic injection occur at the same time, so the doctor’s presence produces fear responses. It is not surprising that these fear responses often generalize to other individuals, particularly to people wearing white coats or, in some instances, to strangers in general.
We want to emphasize the irrational aspect of the phobia because the situation that the individual reacts to normally could do that person no harm. People with phobias often consult clinical psychologists. The reactions to the fear-provoking situations are real, and we can observe them directly. They often involve avoidance and escape responses. Sometimes the escape or avoidance responses are extreme and in themselves may cause harm to the client or to those around the client. Even if an overt, dramatic escape or avoidance response does not occur, the client may react emotionally, by grimacing, becoming rigid, turning pale, or raising the heart rate or blood pressure, for example.
Often, when the phobic client comes to the therapist’s office, the client doesn’t know or remember what events resulted in the phobia. Some traditional therapists spend session after session trying to uncover the initiating circumstances. But awareness of the conditions that initiated the phobia doesn’t seem to reduce the fearful reaction.


  1. 1.Phobia—give an example.
    1. Note: When we ask for examples, we will normally be happy with examples from the text. We won’t mean original examples, unless we say so. But your instructor might want original examples; better check.

Ivan Pavlov*

And finally we get to Pavlov. (Note: In 1904, Russian physiologist Dr. Ivan Pavlov received the Nobel Prize for his work on the physiology of digestion, not for his ringing the bell, which is what you and I know him for.) So Pavlov was already a world-famous physiologist when he discovered respondent conditioning in 1901 (before even your great grandfather was born). In doing his physiological research on glands and the endocrine system, he surgically implanted tubes into dogs’ glands to measure their secretion. So he had to keep the dogs restrained in a harness for a long time. This meant his assistant, Ivan Filippovitch Tolochino, had to feed the dogs while they were restrained. Usually when Ivan F. presented food to these dogs, they would salivate and drool. You might observe this in your own pet doggy, Fang, at feeding time.
But after some time, Pavlov and Ivan F. noticed a strange thing: The dogs wo...

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