Fundamentals An example of Reinforcement: Behavioral Social Work: “The Grandfather” 1 Juke is a highly successful behavior analyst. His grandfather had a stroke that paralyzed his right side. After the stroke, his grandfather rarely talked, and when he did, he didn’t make much sense.
The Grandfather, cont’d How did Juke’s grandmother keep track of his grandfather’s remarks? She counted the number of times he talked She counted the number of responses that made sense and the ones that didn’t make sense What were the baseline data? Average of less than one response per hour 67% of his comments made sense
The Grandfather, cont’d Juke’s grandmother set aside one hour per day for a reinforcement procedure: Before: The grandfather sees no smiles from grandmother After: The grandfather sees smiles from the grandmother Behavior : The grandfather makes a sensible remark
The Grandfather, cont’d What were the results? In 6 weeks, spontaneous remarks increased from less than 1 per hour to 2.5 per hour. Sensible replies increased from 67% to 84%.
Reinforcement What is the Reinforcement Principle? Reinforcement Principle: A response will occur more frequently if a reinforcer or an increase in a reinforcer has followed it in the past, in similar settings.
What is Reinforcement? Reinforcement Contingency: The response-contingent presentation of a reinforcer, resulting in an increased frequency of that response.
Again, how quickly should the reinforcer follow the response? Certainly… less than 60 seconds Ideally… less than 1 second
What is the Delay Gradient? Delay Gradient: The effects of reinforcement and punishment contingencies decrease as the delay between the response and the outcome increases. What happens if a reinforcer is delayed more than 60 seconds? Reinforcers delayed more than 60 seconds have little or no reinforcing effect.
Behavioral Contingencies What do we mean by response- contingent? Response-contingent: caused by or produced by the response What do we mean by occasion? Occasion: a stimulus in the presence of which a particular response will produce a particular outcome. Not the same as the before condition.
What is a Behavioral Contingency? Behavioral Contingency: The occasion for a response, the response, and the outcome of the response. Text Boxes
What is a Non-Contingent Event? Non-Contingent Event: An event that is not dependent on anything. Examples: A child sneezes and then the electricity goes out. The power failure was not contingent on the sneeze.
What is the Environmental-Quality General Rule? You can increase the frequency of entering a setting by putting more reinforcers in that setting, but you will have to make some reinforcers contingent on productive behavior if you want to increase productivity in that setting. Common error: To think that changing the quality of the environment will result in increased productivity.
The Delivery of Reinforcers Before the Behavior Mr. Big gives an envelope with $10,000 to a young woman. “Here’s $10,000 to throw the NCAA volleyball game.” Is this Reinforcement? NO! The money came before the despicable act, not after it. Is this Bribery? YES! Bribery is the use of a reinforcer, often (but not always) given in advance, for the performance of an illegal or immoral act.
Reinforcement or Bribery?
Bribery The reinforcer (“Thank you”) is coming before the behavior (doing laundry).
Bubblegum Bowel Movements – Part year old Todd was averaging one bowel movement per week. Dawn, the behavior analyst, noticed that Todd liked his mom’s bubblegum. What was the Procedural Solution? Give Todd a piece of bubblegum immediately after each bowel movement, but not before.
Poverty’s Children – Part 1 3 Mae, the behavior analyst, set up a classroom as a preschool for 15 black children from low-income families (ages 4- 5). The children scored an average of 79 on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (national average is 100).
Poverty’s Children, cont’d According to National Studies… Is poverty correlated to formal language skills? YES Do terrible language skills increase the probability of failing school? YES Does this lower the chances of finding a good job? YES
Observing the Children What was the problem? Mae’s children rarely used adjectives e.g., color names, sizes, shapes, or numbers What was the solution? Reinforce any appropriate use of adjectives
What were the results? Nothing. The children produced only 3-4 adjectives per hour. What did Mae conclude? The children’s baseline rate (pre- intervention rate) was too low for reinforcement to have an effect. Not enough occasions for reinforcement. Stay tuned to find out what happens with Mae and the children…
Basic Enrichment What is a Skinner Box? B.F. Skinner’s commonly used test chamber (invented by Douglas Ellson). Includes a response device (e.g., a lever) and a source of reinforcers (e.g., water).
Avoid Circular Reasoning Rudolph wants the water. Rudolph drinks the water. Why does Rudolph drink the water? How do you know Rudolph wants the water?
Use Non-Circular Explanations Because that’s what the thermometer says. Because the temperature is 120°F in the box. Rudolph drinks the water. Why does Rudolph drink the water? How do you know the temperature is 120°F?
The Error of Reification: To call a behavior or process a thing. What is the Error of Reification?
Example: Why does Jenny act so strangely (a behavior)? Because she has a mental illness (a thing). How do you know she has a mental illness? Because she’s acting so strangely… The proof of the existence of the thing is the behavior that the thing was supposed to explain.
Medical Model Myth: An erroneous view of human behavior – that behavior is always a mere symptom of an underlying psychological condition. My assistant is passive aggressive. He agrees to do the tasks I ask him to do, but then he doesn’t do them. He’s passively aggressing against me because he doesn’t like me. What is the Medical Model Myth?
Your approval is a powerful reinforcer, and it reinforces your assistant’s agreeing to do the tasks. But without clear-cut deadlines, even that powerful reinforcer will fail to control your assistant’s behavior… Without deadlines, procrastination will take over. A More Behavioral Approach:
Success with Behavioral Approach Barb Fulton 4 measured her assistants’ task completion What was the baseline condition? Orally assigning tasks and not following up when assistants do not complete the tasks.
What was the Intervention? Intervention: Holding weekly meetings where she assigned tasks in writing, gave due dates, and checked on task completion.
More Examples of Medical Model Myth A woman fails to get her homework done in time What is the Medical Model Interpretation? This failure is a symptom of the underlying cause of an unconscious fear of success. What is the Behavioral Interpretation? Doing almost anything else is more reinforcing and less effortful than homework.
Root Causes Medical Model… Invents fictional causes Behavioral Model… Addresses actual causes Example: We don’t smoke cigarettes because we are fixated on our oral stage of infantile development. We smoke because smoking is reinforced by the outcome.
What is the “Don’t Say” Rule? The “Don’t Say” rule: With non-verbal organisms, don’t say Expects Knows Thinks Figures out In order to (or so that he, she, it could…) Trying to Makes the connection Associates Learns that Imagines Understands With any organisms, don’t say wants.
What is the Reinforce Behavior general rule? Reinforce Behavior: Reinforce behavior, not people. Don’t reinforce us… Reinforce our behavior!
Reinforcer vs. Reinforcement What’s the difference? Reinforcer = Thing, event, or change of conditions Reinforcement = The delivery of the reinforcer and the resulting change in behavior
Baseline Juke measured his grandfather’s sensible remarks during baseline Barb Fulton measured her assistants’ task completion during baseline What is baseline? Baseline: The phase of an experiment or intervention where the behavior is measured in the absence of an intervention.
Intermediate Enrichment Reinforcement vs. Analog to Reinforcement With verbal human beings, reinforcers can follow responses by more than 60 seconds. We will cover this more in chapter 22.
Reinforcement Instead of saying, “Presentation of a reinforcer,” it is more precise to say, “Presentation or increase in a reinforcer.”
Before No soda Behavior Sip straw After Soda Example You’re sipping soda through a crimped straw. Before You have soda flow. Behavior Straighten straw After You have quicker soda flow. But if you straighten your crimped straw, the soda flows more quickly.
And another thing… Reinforcement occurs when the current occasion for the response… …is similar to occasions when the response has been reinforced in the past.
Example: In the past Rod’s tantrumming has been reinforced by Dad… So when Dad’s around… And Rod has little or no attention… If Rod tantrums… Rod is likely to get attention. See Chapter 12 for more info on these discriminated contingencies…
And… If in the past, you worked with Rudolph the rat only when he was deprived of water… And you used water as a reinforcer for his response of mouse clicking… Then if you put him in the Skinner box after he has had a lot to drink… He’s probably not going to perform very frequently.
Learn more about Motivating Operations in Chapter 9…
So an exhaustingly exhaustive re- defined definition of Reinforcement Contingency could be… Reinforcement Contingency: The presentation Or increase of A reinforcer Promptly following a response Resulting in an increased frequency of that response On similar occasions And with similar motivating operations.
Circular Reasoning and Reifications Do all circular arguments result in a reification? NO! Example?
Circular argument that does not involve the reification of any concepts. Because he’s now pressing the lever. In the past, lever pressing has produced drops of water. Why is Rudolph pressing the lever? How do you know lever pressing has produced drops of water?
Advanced Enrichment What would that example be? Circular reification. What is this? Inferring a cause, usually an internal entity, which is just a label for the behavior we’re trying to explain.
What’s another type of reification? Process reification. What’s this? Inferring an internal entity, which is just a label for a controlling process (typically contingencies). Why am I acting so selfishly? Because your ID is strong and your Ego and Superego are underdeveloped …
Join us for Chapter 3…Escape
Footnotes 1. Based on Green, G. R., Linsk, N. L., & Pinkston, E. M. (1986). Modification of verbal behavior of the mentally impaired elderly by their spouses. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 19, Based on Tomlinson, J. R. (1970). Bowel retention. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 2, Based on Hart, B. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Establishing use of descriptive adjectives in the spontaneous speech of disadvantaged preschool children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, Fulton, B. J., & Malott, R. W. ( ). The structured meeting system: A procedure for improving the completion of nonrecurring tasks. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 3(4), 7-18.