Explanations of Human Behavior • Why do people behave the way they do? • Can we predict behavior? • Why do people behave in socially inappropriate ways?
Useful theories • Inclusive: it must explain a substantial amount of behavior • Verifiable: can we test it out? • Predictive utility: can we use the theory to predict what someone may do under similar conditions? • Parsimonious: is it the simplest explanation?
Biophysical Explanations • Genetic or hereditary factors • We are often predisposed to behave a certain way - “temperament” including activity level, adaptability, threshold of responsiveness, distractibility, persistence, etc. • Genetics may Increase the probability of certain behavioral characteristics
Biochemical explanations • Excesses or deficiencies of certain chemicals determine certain behaviors or disorders i.e., autism • No proof – the abnormalities exist but may not be the cause • Past belief that biochemical or physiological influences result in brain damage but this is unsubstantiated
Developmental Explanations • Psychoanalytic theory – progression through certain stages as an explanation • Piaget – cognitive and moral stages of development
Cognitive Explanations • Discovery learning • Motivation is intrinsic • Teachers do not impart knowledge, they rearrange the environment to facilitate learning • Constructivism – students must construct their own knowledge • Concept development is the goal
Behavioral Explanations • Behavior is learned • Functional relationship between two environmental events: behavior and consequence (POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT) • NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT – a behavior increases when an unpleasant environmental condition is removed or reduced in intensity
Behaviorism (cont’d) • EXTINCTION – When a previously reinforced behavior is no longer reinforced, the behavior decreases • ANTECEDENT CONTROL – discriminative stimulus – an antecedent that occurs right before the behavior (it occasions the behavior) • Stimulus control – the relationship between the behavior and the antecedent
Antecedent Stimulus • Antecedent stimulus – serves as a signal or cue for the behavior • Setting events- influence behavior by temporarily changing the value or effectiveness of a reinforcer • Simple kind of setting event – satiation or deprivation • Kazdin: social, physiological, and environmental
Setting events • Bailey, Wolery, & Sugai – instructional dimensions, physical dimensions, social dimensions, and environmental changes • Issues of students’ ethnic or cultural heritage – Personalized Contextual Instruction (see box pg 14-15)
Other learning principles • Modeling – demonstration of the behavior • Shaping – reinforcement of successive approximations to a desired behavior
Behavior • Must be able to see or hear or feel or smell the behavior • Observable • Quantifiable • Less concerned with explaining a behavior and more concerned with describing it • Which environmental factors increase, decrease, or maintain the behavior?
Behaviorists • Pay attention to heredity, psychological problems, or developmental stages • Priority is on present environmental conditions that maintain behavior and the relationships between the conditions and the behavior • Manipulate the variables
Historical development of Behaviorism • Pavlov – Respondent conditioning with dogs food – UCS tone – CS Salivation - UR salivation – CR Pairing stimuli so that an unconditioned stimulus elicits a response – respondent, Pavlovian, or classical conditioning
Associationism • Edward Thorndike – work with cats • Law of Exercise – a response made in a particular situation becomes associated with that situation • Law of Effect – any act which in a given situation produces satisfaction becomes associated with that situation, so that when the situation recurs that act is more likely than before to recur also
Behaviorism • Originated by Watson (1914-1925) – mind, instinct, thought, emotion – not useful in in understanding behavior • Albert and the white rat – conditioned a startle response in a baby by pairing with loud noise with a white rat • Fear is a conditioned response
Operant conditioning • B.F. Skinner – (1904-1988) – distinguished operant from respondent conditioning • Respondent conditioning – reflexive • Operant conditioning – voluntary behavior • Concerned with consequences of behavior and the functional relationships between behaviors and consequences • Moved from the laboratory into applied settings Behavior modification
1960s • Much research – Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis • Baer for research to qualify as Applied Behavior Analysis, it must: • change socially important behavior • deal with observable and quantifiable behavior • be objectively defined • demonstrate clear evidence of a functional relationship between the behavior and the intervention
Applied Behavior Analysis • More rigorously defined than behavior modification • Must have effective analysis of behavior change through documentation