Posted: December 1st, 2015
The goal of this study is to either increase a desired behavior that would help you accomplish your goals or to decrease a behavior that is currently interfering with accomplishing your goals. We all have behaviors that we would like to improve and things we would like to stop doing. By using the basic learning principles (i.e. classical conditioning, operant conditioning, observational learning) and variants of these principles (i.e. token economy, shaping, etc.) you are going to attempt to change your behavior over the course of the next few weeks.
Baseline: Take one week to identify what you want to change and then measure it. It could be as simple at the amount of time you spend exercising a week or how much you study per day. In complex conditions like anxiety and depression, it might be how many times you confront the feared situation/object (anxiety) or how many times you do something that you once enjoyed but no longer do (depression). If you have any questions, please ask me.
Reinforcement/Punishment: Find an appropriate reward and/or punishment and use these to modify your behavior. These stimuli must be given appropriately and consistently (i.e. if you give yourself a night out at the end of the week for studying certain # of hours per week DON’T go out unless you meet this goal). As you meet your goals and are reinforced/punished, increase the goals even more (For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you may start rewarding yourself by losing 1 lb. the first week, a total of 3-4 lbs by the second week, 6-8 lbs by the third week, etc.) Please, make sure to set realistic goals though or behavior will not be changed at all.
Analysis: In your paper, please discuss what you have decided to do, why you decided to do it, and which learning principles you have used to effect this change. Provide a line graph of the behavior you are measuring (including baseline) and progress over 3 weeks of time. Describe the obstacles you had to overcome and the problems you encountered along the way. Were you successful in changing your behavior? If not, describe why you think you failed to achieve your goals. This is NOT a research paper, so you do not need sources or to cite anything.
The first two paragraphs should introduce the topic of the behavioral modification and why it is important. Paragraph three should describe how you measured the behavior at baseline. Paragraph four should describe the events of week 1 and the reinforcers/punishers used. Paragraph five should describe week 2, paragraph six for week 3. Finally, paragraph 7 should sum up your experience with this project. Finally, attach a line graph detailing your progress from baseline to week 3 (cannot be hand drawn).
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