Transcription: PSYCO 282: Introduction to Behaviour Modification (part I) - YouTube

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Hi, everyone welcome to lecture topic, one and video one, an introduction to behavior modification, which is really what the entire course is about.

So this first lecture is introducing you to the introduction kind of sort of now.
What you're going to see throughout my lectures is.
I will start off by giving you the learning objectives for every topic, and i do this to kind of sort of frame.

What's about to come, you can get kind of a rough expectation of some of the topics, but i will also put them in the form of questions, and this helps people to use them for review purposes as well.

So after i lecture on a topic, you can go back and go through the questions and see how well you can answer each one of these questions, not just if you can answer it with like a sentence fragment, but do you think you could take a look At one of these questions like what is behavior and then like closed book blank sheet of paper, could you write down an answer to that in, like a paragraph and if you're able to do that odds, are you've learned, remembered and understood the material pretty well, alright? So i will talk about what is behavior.
I know that sounds like a really obvious question, but definitions are important.

This is going to be a thread that runs through the entire course.
You need to have a really good and clear understanding of definitions.
There are a lot of jargon, kind of terms in this course.

A lot of them are confusing, so it is really important to get that clear understanding, i'll talk about the relationship between behavior and the environment, which is another thread that runs through the course we'll take a look at the scientific study of learning.

We'll take a look at hey, behavior modification and i'll also talk about applied, behavior analysis and how these two things are similar and maybe different i'll.
Go over the history of the study of behavior just a little bit of history, yes, names and dates.

But it is important to give credit where credit is due to the people who have done important work and to place that into a historical context.
So, yes, it is important to know some milestone events and i'm not just going to ask you like what date was this old dead white dude born? That's just a memorization question.
I may ask you about particular contributions made by particular people and at the end i will talk about some areas of application to show you the breadth of the field of behavior modification.


But first i did ask you this question and thank you to those of you who responded.
If you didn't get a chance to respond to this, yet you can still respond to that google form survey.

I asked you what are the biggest problems facing the world and i know it's hard to answer this - it's hard for me to sit down and read through all of this, because it's pretty heavy stuff.

So in going through it, i've pulled out some sort of recurring items in no particular order: climate change and issues around sustainability, concerns about poverty and basic human resources, international conflicts, influencing each other's opinions or not being concerned about others in various ways: inequality, racism, things like That antibiotic resistance issues of privacy and oh yeah, that last one too now the point of this isn't to depress you to no end to think about these things that you're gon na have to deal with in the future.

Mostly, you not me, i'm old, the point of asking these is for me, then, to flip this around so with that list of problems to which of these problems is behavior relevant, that is to say which of these problems.

Can we address by changing behavior, someone's behavior? If not all of our behavior, so we can kind of go through these and see.

Do you think we can change the rate of climate change and improve sustainability by changing our behaviors yeah? I think that's possible like.
If we can change behavior, then we could definitely make some improvements there.

Could we address poverty by changing people's body yeah sure i think that's possible how about international conflict yeah? I think so how about influencing other? Definitely, how about how about how about how about yeah? How about all of these? In fact, i really can't think of a major or minor issue that we can't address that that without changing behavior, i think behavior applies to all of these um.

That's kind of the point and that's why i wanted you to come up with these, to show you the the power of behavior change, so the kind of things that you gave me and again thank you for that are not too different from responses.

I've gotten in previous semesters some slight differences here and there um some concerns were identical and some were um, maybe not so important, but uh in general.
The kind of things that people are concerned with are pretty consistent from semester to semester.

I want to uh, introduce you to bf skinner and i'm going to be talking about him a lot.
This semester skinner actually wrote this, and i love this quote.
This is from his book about behaviorism.

The major problems of the world can be solved only if we improve our understanding of human behavior.
Okay, that's going to be our starting point in this course and, as i've mentioned, i'm going to be asking you to change one of your behaviors throughout the course of this term and there's really no limit to the kinds of things that we can address.

The kind of change we can make by changing behaviors the nurture effect is the title of a book um how the science of human behavior can improve our lives and the world.

Looking at some pretty big picture issues, um here's a little kind of trailer for the book by its author tony biglin, [, Music ], my name's tony biglin.

I've been a scientist at oregon research institute for 35 years.

Thanks to advances in behavioral science, we have figured out how to prevent most of the critical problems facing us.

I began my study of psychology in the 1960s.
I was inspired by people like bobby kennedy who challenged young people to make a difference.
I come to you today to say that we can build a newer and better nation.

I say we can do so that we must do so and that we will do so in the 60s.
We had optimism, attitude and motivation.
What was missing was science, but over the past 50 years, we've learned how to ensure that just about every child thrives , first children need safe and caring environments.

We need to keep anger, criticism and threat to a minimum.

The second thing that makes us thrive is positive reinforcement, i'm not talking about m m's or money.
I'm talking about attention.

Listening, smiling touching hugging approval and warmth, all vital ingredients to keep people persevering, innovating caring for others, learning new things we thrive on reinforcement.
Science shows that even problems that seem intractable can have simple solutions.
Consider jon snow in 1854 in london, england.

He proved that cholera was due to contaminated water when he got the town to remove the broad street pump handle the cholera epidemic ended a deadly disease that had killed thousands of people over hundreds of years was stopped by a simple solution.

So what is our pump? Handle is there a simple solution that could prevent the psychological and behavioral problems that have plagued us for centuries.
The answer is nurturance the school and family programs.

We've developed over the past 40 years nurture young people's development while preventing the most common and costly psychological and behavioral problems, but research also shows that our families and schools will never become as nurturing as they could be unless we evolve our capitalist system so that it Serves the well-being of everyone we have more people living in poverty than any other developed country and historic levels of economic inequality.
These conditions, strain families, increase conflict and directly contribute to poor health and even suicide.

Now we're beginning to see a growing number of people who understand that we must have an economic system that works for everyone.

We have the knowledge we need to build the better world that robert kennedy challenged us to create, i'm really an optimist.
I i think that we have the science to ensure that virtually every young person arrives at adulthood with the skills interests, health habits and values.
They need to live a productive life in caring relationships with other people, .

Okay, there are some some pretty pretty deep issues there.

Not all the issues are, are societal and and quite so, broad and sweeping important too, but important in other ways.
Uh here's another book trailer.

It's called the power of habit, i'll be talking about habits specifically later on in the course, but really this is introducing another way of thinking about behavior change.

I first became interested in the science of habits about eight years ago.

As a newspaper reporter in baghdad.

I heard about an army officer who was conducting a habit experiment in kufa about an hour to the south.

He was an army major who had recently analyzed a bunch of videotapes of riots and had noticed a pattern.

Violence was often preceded by people showing up into a large plaza or other area and growing in size.

Over the course of a couple of hours, food vendors would show up and then spectators and then eventually, someone would pick up a bottle or a rock and throw it and all hell would break loose.
When the major met with the mayor of kufa, he made a kind of odd request: could they try and keep all the food vendors out of the plazas sure the mayor said no problem? A few weeks later, a crowd started growing in the plaza by the great mosque of kufa.

Throughout the afternoon it got bigger and bigger and bigger people started chanting.

Angry slogans, iraqi police are getting concerned.

They radioed the nearby base and asked them to stand by spectators.
Showed up and at dusk the crowd started.

Growing restless and hungry people looked for the kebab sellers normally filling the plaza, but there were none to be found.
As people got hungry, they went home the spectators all left.

The rioters became dispirited by 8 pm.

Everyone was gone riot averted now.
You wouldn't necessarily think about a crowd's dynamics in terms of habit formation, but the major had spent his entire military career, getting drilled in the psychology of habits first in boot camp and then, as he moved up through the military.

He learned about the importance of organizational habits as an impromptu nation builder.

The major was learning how crowds and cultures abided by many of the same habit rules.

The us military is one of the biggest habit formation experiments on earth teaching soldiers carefully designed patterns for how to shoot, act and think under fire.
The major told me that understanding habits was one of the most important things he learned in the army.

No one could have predicted that in kufa you could influence the crowds by taking away the kebab stands, but once the major was able to see the influence of habits, it was like.
Someone had given him a crowbar and a flashlight to get the job done.
Understanding habits is the most important thing i've learned in the army.

The major told me it's changed everything about how i see the world, our understanding of habits and the way that patterns work within our lives and society has expanded tremendously in the last 50 years.
Transforming a habit isn't easy or simple, but it is possible, and now we understand how imagine how your society could change with this new understanding of habits, the power of habit? Why we do what we do in life and business learn more at thepowerofhabit.

So if i can, i will try to embed these kind of videos in the powerpoints um in my lecture videos themselves.

I can't always do that.
Some of the videos um are copyright and if i embed them and post them on youtube, it'll get flagged and probably taken down.

So there might be times where i'll go.
Okay pause! My video go back to e-class.
There's a separate link and that'll probably be linked from my google drive.

You can watch the video and then jump back into the lectures.

Another thing that i'd like to do when i start a different topic is to give you a research focus.
This is an illustration of some of the principles i'm going to be talking about before i start to talk about them now there are a bunch of details in these research focus examples.

These are not testable.
Okay, again, not testable, that's not to say you should just skip over this.
I am presenting these because they do illustrate some of the principles being applied in real life.

Real world situations for this research focus.
I'd like to take a look at this question.

How can behavior modification decrease drunk driving? So that's a pretty important question to uh to all of us, so for some context way back in 1988, the harvard school of public health got some money, and with that money they started the harvard alcohol project.

They wanted to use that money in the best possible way to try and decrease some of the ill effects due to alcohol, and they decided to apply some of this money to a then new concept called the designated driver.

If you've never heard of that, a designated driver is someone who joins the party but does not consume alcohol so that they can drive everyone home who has been consuming alcohol.


This is an example of a magazine advertisement that they came up with, but some of the people working on this project had some contacts in hollywood, so they talked to their contacts at tv networks and asked them if they wouldn't mind promoting the concept.

Now they decided to do this in a pretty unusual way, instead of having maybe a 30-second public service message, they actually wanted the message to be embedded in some of the popular tv shows at the time.
So what they would do is have characters on very popular shows like these act as designated drivers.


This would introduce the public to the idea of a designated driver and it wasn't intended to be preachy or kind of hitting people over the head with the message, but instead trying to just normalize it.

This is a thing that people do and here are some of the benefits of it and they actually managed to get this concept into over 160 prime time tv episodes over a number of years.

Did it work? Well, of course, this is not exactly an experiment, so the results have to be taken with a grain of salt.

That being said, by 1991, over a third of americans had served as a designated driver went up to 53 by 1998.
Clearly, the idea was catching on with people.
What was it like before this campaign? We don't have data from that.

Maybe some people informally did this.
They didn't call it a designated driver, but there must have been some people how many.
Unfortunately, we don't know that here's some other data that we do have looking at alcohol related traffic fatalities did surprisingly drop from 1998 to 1992.

But, to be honest, there were some other things happening at the same time, including publicity about the downsides of drinking and driving.
There were new, stricter laws and ever stricter enforcement.

So it's really difficult to disentangle all of these factors.

Nonetheless, it was taken to be a success in introducing this concept to the public and they started another campaign introducing another idea, and that is recycling starting in the 1990s.

Now in case you're wondering what does this have to do with behavior change? Okay, a bit of a preview for, what's coming up sometime later in the course, this idea of presenting people acting as designated drivers.


That's an example of a modeling prompt in everyday life.

I need to answer this question.
What is behavior? That's one of these questions that well i'll know it when i see it but being scientific about it, we need to have a more precise definition.

Behavior is a simple action that can fall into one of two categories.

It might be overt that is objectively, it can be measured by a bunch of people.

We can break that down further into verbal, overt behavior, so speaking using language or motor performing an activity that is also an overt behavior.
So if it's not overt, that leaves us with covert, that is no other person can measure or observe a behavior.

These are called private events as well.
It is something that i can do, but you can't tell that i'm doing this behavior and likewise i can't tell if anybody else is doing a covert behavior.

So this refers to things like thoughts and feelings.

So what you've learned about behaviorism so far might be.
No! No, no thoughts, no feelings, we're not measuring that at all.
It's not a behavior, just forget about it, i'm not listening.

No! This is a more open kind of definition that does include covert behaviors.
I'm going to be using the word behavior a lot in this course, and this phrase as well target behavior target behavior means we've decided on a behavior that is going to be modified.

This is something i'm going to ask you to decide on and define for us what your target behavior is in part one of the self-management project.

The problem, i think, with this phrase, is the word target of all things for target.
Some people take that to mean a goal.
This is not what it means.

Okay target here means we are, we are targeting it.
It's like a violent kind of.
We are targeting this behavior for change, we're potentially ignoring all other behaviors we're just going to focus on one, but the phrase is unfortunately target behavior.

I do want to talk about behavioral goals, but not quite yet so having talked about behavior, i also want to talk about response after you've defined what your target behavior is.
You need to measure your responses, how's that different than a behavior a response is the word.
That's reserved for one instance of a target: behavior.

Okay, so we've defined the target behavior, we know exactly what it is.
We've got a precise definition when it occurs once that is one response of a behavior.

We can take a look at responses and compare them to each other.

We can have a group of responses that are similar in some way, they're similar in that they accomplish the same thing.

They have the same function.
That's a word! That's going to be reappearing throughout this course.

Another way of saying that is that these different responses have the same effect on the environment, and these together are called a response class.
So, for example, thinking of drinking you could drink a cup of water from a nice drinking glass.
You could drink it from a plastic bottle.

You could drink it from a coconut using a straw.
Okay, the point is you're getting a cup of water in you, you're just doing it in kind of slightly different ways.


There's another r word that i also need to introduce called repertoire.

I love this.
Do you know that you have a repertoire, even if you can't play a musical instrument or you're, not an actor? Each of us has a repertoire, and that word means the collection of all behaviors that you can perform.

Maybe there's some behaviors that you cannot perform, maybe not yet it isn't in your behavioral repertoire.

So this is a look at what is behavior.
What about what behavior is not so i do want to caution you and make you aware of some things that are not behaviors, so describing a person's personality like honest or introverted.
Yes, these describe personality traits which themselves may be made up of a constellation of behaviors, but words like honest and introverted they're, not verbs.

I'm honestly, i am honestly with you right now see that doesn't work, it's not a verb.
Okay, so these are not behaviors.
We also have to be careful about scientific-y sounding things: diagnostic labels, like major depressive disorder - that is also not a behavior.

We also have to be careful about products of behavior, like classic example, is losing weight, losing weight, um, not exactly a verb.
Look at me: i'm losing weight, i'm losing weight right now, i'm losing weighting.
It doesn't really work as a verb.

No, you might be um you might be exercising and that may lead you to your goal of losing weight.
That could be a product of your behavior.


So be careful about that, i have to bring up something called the dead man test proposed by behaviorist ogden linsley back in 1965, and this is his kind of quick and dirty definition.

If a dead man can do it, then it ain't behavior and if a dead man can't do it, then it is behavior which reminds me of the classic 80s movie weekend at bernie's, in which all kinds of horrible things are visited upon a dead body anyway.
The point is only living people can do behaviors, that's just something to keep in mind it's kind of a tongue-in-cheek definition, but i think there's a little bit to it anyway.

Another thing i wanted to look at was not just behaviors in a vacuum but behaviors in the context of an environment.


I hope this isn't a shock to anybody.
Behaviors and the environment can interact what you didn't.
You didn't warn me, that's i'm triggered right now.

Behaviors and the environment can enter yes.

This is this is hopefully nothing new to you.
This is going to be really important.

Moving forward, the environment can cause you to perform certain behaviors.

Your behaviors, in turn, can affect your environment, see how that's kind of a two-way street.

That's kind of neat yeah, that's something that we have to keep in mind.

The consequences of your behavior can feed back to your behaviors and affect your behavior in the future.
This is kind of summarizing the entire course in like five lines right here, but if you're still in shock - and you still don't believe that behaviors in the environment can interact no worries.
I've got a research focus example for you, looking at cluttered classrooms.

So when my kids started school, i would take them on the first day and a lot of elementary school classrooms look very, very similar to each other.
They got a lot of stuff.
There's like inspirational posters on the walls and like the alphabet and one teacher had an inflatable palm tree and another teacher had a stationary bike that could could jump on there's just all kinds of stuff, particularly stuff on the walls.

Now i think teachers want to do the best for their students and they think that they're helping them so that their classroom isn't kind of cold and sterile and boring, but are they really doing the best thing for their students? So that's what this study was about? The participants were 24 kindergarten, age students, so a pretty small sample.

The independent variable, which is the thing that was manipulated by the researchers, was their lab.
They modified their lab to look like a classroom.

Here are the two different conditions: the levels of the independent variable condition, a was a decorated classroom condition b was a sparse classroom as they called it.
So here's 360 degree view of the same room, just decorated, two different ways.


So in the top one, that's a pretty typical kind of a classroom kind of things you might expect to see in any kind of a classroom.

If you walk into a school b is exactly the same room.
They just took all the all the junk off the walls.
It looks uh.

It does look indeed pretty sparse okay, so they brought kids in to one of these two kinds of rooms and they were basically taught some science lessons.
Here's one actual lesson about insects and ants and bees, and this took place over a two period, so it wasn't just for a one-hour session.
This is a pretty good long session of two weeks.

Let's see what they found, one variable that they measured was off-task behavior and it's pretty easy to tell if kids were distracted, they play with their shoelaces or they look around the room.

They're, really not paying attention to the lesson being delivered by the teacher.
So they were distracted about 38 of the time in the decorated classroom versus only 28 in the sparse classroom.

If you expect it to be zero, no, these are still kindergarten, kids, they're, not all paying attention to the lesson all at the same time.
What we have is quite a large difference between these two groups, simply due to the fact that the classroom is decorated: okay, but maybe they're still learning equally, so they had another dependent measure, and that is learning they actually tested them on some of the lessons that They gave test scores were lower in the nicely decorated classroom compared to the sparse classroom.
If you do the math that's a 13 difference.

That is quite a gap.
So here we see the differences.
The pretest is asking kids questions.

Maybe they already knew some things about.
Some of the science lessons, so it's important to measure that as a baseline, you can then compare that to the post conditions, the sparse and the decorated classrooms.

So pretty clearly in the sparse classroom.

The kids are learning more, it's still not 100, but they are learning significantly more than in the decorated condition, and that was their conclusion in the chances that this has been a one-off.
This was uh very similar to more recent findings in 2017.

Basically, the same thing: the environment, the the visual distraction in the classroom is affecting behavior, it's affecting learning it's affecting on task, uh concentration and also test performance.

So if you are going to become a teacher um, maybe keep this in mind.
Don't have your classroom super cluttered in the interests of keeping these videos from getting too long i'll stop part one there .

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