Overview of Advance Behavior Analysis

Overview of Advance Behavior
Week 1: Providing a foundation
What is The Purpose of Science?
Attitudes of Science
Determinism: Laws govern the universe
Empiricism: Show me the data
Experimentation: Correlations are not enough
Replication: Do it again
Parsimony: Simpler is correct
Philosophic Doubt: Skeptical and open minded
Definition of Science
• Systematic approach to the understanding of
natural phenomena as evidenced by
description, prediction and control that relies
on determinism as its fundamental
assumption, empiricism as its prime directive,
experimentation as its basic strategy,
replication as its necessary requirement for
believability, parsimony as its conservative
value and philosophic doubt as it guiding
Brief History of Behavior Analysis
• Watson (1913): Psychology as the Behaviorist
Views it (Watson)
– S-R Psychology
• Skinner (1938): Behavior of Organisms
– S-R-S psychology
– Not structural, Not Methodological
• Applied Behavior Analysis
– Fuller (1949) – Vegetative Idiots work for sugar milk
– Ayllon & Michael (1959): Psychiatric Nurse as
Behavioral Engineer
3 types of Behaviorism
• Structural: Thoughts don’t exist
• Methodological: Thoughts Exist but are not
• Radical: Thoughts are behavior
Characteristics of:
Applied Behavior Analysis
• Applied: Social Significant
• Behavioral: Observable & Measurable
• Analytic: Can Demonstrate Control
Additional Characteristics of ABA
• Technological: Detailed & Clarity to allow
• Conceptually systematic: Explain results from
• Effective: Changes to a practical degree
• Generality
• Accountable, Public, Doable, Empowering,
Definition of Applied Behavior Analysis
• Science in which tactics derived from the
principles of behavior are applied
systematically to improve socially significant
behavior and experimentation is used to
indentify the variables responsible for
behavior change.
ABA is not:
• A “treatment” for autism
• Dead but perhaps dying?
• Cruel or inhumane
Basic Concepts
• Portion of an organisms interaction with its
environment that results in measurable
change in the environment
– Response is used instead of behavior for specific
instances of a behavior.
– Essentially anything a dead person cannot do (be
– Important: All behavior serves a function
• Increases probability of behavior
• Follows a response
• Is contingent upon behavior (caveat – NCR)
– Positive: Adding a stimulus
– Negative: Removal of a stimulus
• Decreases probability of behavior
• Follows a response
• Is Contingent upon behavior
– Positive (type I): Adding a stimulus
– Negative (Type II): Removal of a stimulus
Why a Functional Approach?
• Diagnosis
– Lacks intervention utility
– Results in admiration of a problem
– Diffuses responsibility of a problem
• Intervention Prescription
– Topography-based: Out of seat
– Case Based-based: Brother
– Preference-based: they love candy
What is a Functional Assessment?
• Behavior serves a function (it works for the
• Your job is to identify the function using
systematic methods
Errors to watch out for during FBA
• Error of association
– It only happens with mama
• Error of perception
– Recency: Should have seen him today
– Primacy: functions of past are not always
functions today
• Error of misplace precision
– Data types are important
Additional Errors to
lookout for during FBA
• Error of inaccurate FBA
– Effects of consequences can be deceiving
• Error of exaggeration
– It always happens when…..Really?
• Error of generalization
– All do the same behavior for the same reason (i.e.
• Intervention Brainstorming Caution!
– Can lead to premature implementation
General FBA Steps
Conduct Comprehensive FBA
Link the FBA to the intervention
Implement the Intervention
Objectively evaluate the intervention
3 Types of FBA
• Indirect:
– verbal reports & rating scales
– Identify/describe behavior
– Generate hypothesis only
• Direct:
– Indirect FBA Plus Systematic Observation
– Stronger hypotheses generated objectively
• Functional Analysis:
– Experimental manipulations
– Attempting to support hypotheses
Empirical Evaluation of Ellis
Reducing inappropriate self talk: 46%
Reducing emotional distress: 27%
No effect on actual behavior
Gossette and O’Brien (1992)
√ Effects probably due to homework
assignments, not the challenge of cognition.
Let’s Add Cognitive Restructuring!
• Let’s not!
– 83% of research suggests it adds nothing!
– Helpful for social anxiety only
Empirical Evaluation of Beck
• No better than a placebo (placebo may be
effective!) [NIMH, 1989]
- 55% BT, 52% IPT, 46% CT, 34% BDPT
(Agency for health care policy and research,
Behavioral vs. Cognitive
• 83% of pure cognitive had no added benefit.
√ Cognitive good for social-anxiety and phobia
Two Points
Cognitive techniques rely on rule-governed
Rules control behavior only when linked to
environmental contingencies

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