Operant Conditioning: Behavior Modification
Instruction: Students should apply principles of operant conditioning to modify an existing behavior.
A. Identify a target behavior to be modified, either an undesirable behavior that you would like to eliminate or a desirable behavior that you would like to strengthen. By taking a close look at many aspects of your own behavior–such as study habits, sporting skills, health habits, or personal-interaction skills–you should have no trouble selecting a behavior you’d like to change. Examples of potential undesirable behaviors to eliminate include smoking cigarettes, eating fatty foods, watching too much TV, speeding, phobias or anxieties (e.g., fear of flying, test anxiety), and procrastination before exams or papers. Examples of desirable behaviors to be increased include remembering people’s names, becoming more punctual with respect to class or social events, outlining textbook chapters while reading, using a turn signal while driving, and increasing a skill in sports (e.g., using a left foot in soccer, increasing free-throw percentage in basketball).
B. After identifying a target behavior, generate a plausible explanation for why the problem exists and why you want to change the behavior and what benefits change will bring.
C. Then propose a program for changing a behavior. It means, list all the things you need to do, to modify the behavior. In the program proposal, you may describe all relevant conditioning principles which might include positive and negative reinforcers, punishment, shaping, observation, etc. ( eText Chapter 6, Operant conditioning principles for reference in your paper)
D. Monitor your behavior for two weeks, implement the program you created and type up an honest report of the results. Explain what degree of the program was successful. Explanations for success or failure should be highlighted. If you failed, you should propose an alternative plan that might be more successful in the future.
You will be graded on your understanding and application of the learning principles (e.g., as evident in your program design and implementation) rather than your degree of success in modifying a chosen behavior.
This assignment should be 2 pages long (or more) double space and the font should be 12-point Times New Roman and regular margin.
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