applied behavior analysis
A technology of behavior in which basic principles of behavior are applied to real-world issues.
Any activity of an organism that can be either directly or indirectly observed.
behavior analysis (or experimental analysis of behavior)
The behavioral science that grew out of the philosophy of radical behaviorism.
A natural science approach to psychology that traditionally emphasizes the study of environmental influences on observable behavior.
A philosophical school of thought, of which John Locke was a member, that maintained that almost all knowledge is a function of experience.
A brand of behaviorism that utilizes intervening variables, usually in the form of hypothesized cognitive processes, to help explain behavior. Sometimes called "purposive behaviorism."
The mental representation of one's spatial surroundings.
The deliberate manipulation of environmental events so as to alter their impact on our behavior.
The assumption that a person's characteristics are mostly learned or are the result of experience. Also known as the nurture perspective.
An approach to psychology that holds that the mind evolved to help us adapt to the world around us, and that the focus of psychology should be the study of those adaptive processes.
The attempt to accurately describe one's conscious thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences.
Learning that occurs in the absence of any observable demonstration of learning and only becomes apparent under a different set of conditions.
law of contiguity
A law of association holding that events that occur in close proximity to each other in time or space are readily associated with each other.
law of contrast
A law of association holding that events that are opposite from each other are readily associated.
law of frequency
A law of association holding that the more frequently two items occur together, the more strongly they are associated.
law of parsimony
The assumption that simpler explanations for a phenomenon are generally preferable to more complex explanations.
law of similarity
A law of association holding that events that are similar to each other are readily associated.
A relatively permanent change in behavior that results from some type of experience.
A brand of behaviorism that asserts that, for methodological reasons, psychologists should study only those behaviors that can be directly observed.
Descartes' philosophical assumption that some human behaviors are bodily reflexes that are automatically elicited by external stimulation, while other behaviors are freely chosen and controlled by the mind.
The assumption that a person's characteristics are largely inborn. Also known as the nature perspective.
A brand of behaviorism that utilizes intervening variables, in the form of hypothesized physiological processes, to help explain behavior.
A brand of behaviorism that emphasizes the influence of the environment on overt behavior, rejects the use of internal events to explain behavior, and views thoughts and feelings as behaviors that themselves need to be explained.
The assumption that environmental events, observable behavior, and "person variables" (which include internal events) reciprocally influence each other.
The theory that learning involves the establishment of a connection between a specific stimulus (S) and a specific response (R).
social learning theory
A brand of behaviorism that strongly emphasizes the importance of observational learning and cognitive variables in explaining human behavior. It has more recently been referred to as "social-cognitive theory."
An approach to psychology holding that it is possible to determine the structure of the mind by identifying the basic elements of which it is composed.
An event that an organism will seek out.
An event that an organism will avoid.
The normal frequency of a behavior prior to some intervention.
case study approach
A descriptive research approach that involves intensive examination of one or a few individuals.
A type of single-subject design in which the effect of the treatment is demonstrated by the extent to which the behavior matches a criterion that is systematically altered.
A predictive relationship between two events such that the occurrence of one event predicts the probable occurrence of the other.
control group design
A type of experiment in which, at its simplest, subjects are randomly assigned to either an experimental (or treatment) group and a control group; subjects assigned to the experimental group are exposed to a certain manipulation or treatment while those assigned to the control group are not.
Behavior that can be subjectively perceived only by the person performing the behavior. Thoughts and feelings are covert behaviors.
A device that measures total number of responses over time and provides a graphic depiction of the rate of behavior.
That aspect of an experiment that is allowed to freely vary to determine if it is affected by changes in the independent variable.
The prolonged absence of an event that tends to increase the appetitiveness of that event.
Research that focuses on describing the behavior and the situation within which it occurs.
The length of time that an individual repeatedly or continuously performs a certain behavior.
A procedure that affects the appetitiveness or aversiveness of a stimulus.
The relationship between changes in an independent variable and changes in a dependent variable; a cause-and-effect relationship.
That aspect of an experiment that is made to systematically vary across the different conditions in an experiment.
The force or magnitude of a behavior.
The measurement of whether or not a behavior occurs within a series of continuous intervals. (The number of times that it occurs within each interval is irrelevant.)
The length of time required for a behavior to begin.
A type of single-subject design in which a treatment is instituted at successive points in time for two or more persons, settings, or behaviors.
A descriptive research approach that involves the systematic observation and recording of behavior in its natural environment.
Behavior that has the potential for being directly observed by an individual other than the one performing the behavior.
rate of response
The frequency with which a response occurs in a certain period of time.
A particular instance of a behavior.
A type of single-subject design that involves repeated alternations between a baseline period and a treatment period.
The prolonged exposure to (or consumption of ) an event that tends to decrease the appetitiveness of that event.
A type of single-subject design in which behavior in a baseline condition is compared to behavior in a treatment condition.
A research design that requires only one or a few subjects in order to conduct an entire experiment.
The extent to which events are situated close to each other in space.
The amount of time required to perform a complete episode of a behavior from start to finish.
Any event that can potentially influence behavior. (The plural for stimulus is stimuli.)
The extent to which events occur close together in time.
time sample recording
The measurement of whether or not a behavior occurs within a series of discontinuous intervals. (The number of times that it occurs within each interval is irrelevant.)
The physical form of a behavior.
A characteristic of a person, place, or thing that can change (vary) over time or from one situation to another.
Conditioning procedure in which the US is an event that is usually considered pleasant and that an organism seeks out.
Conditioning procedure in which the US is an event that is usually considered unpleasant and that an organism avoids.
Conditioning procedure in which the onset of the NS follows the onset of the US.
A process whereby one stimulus that does not elicit a certain response is associated with a second stimulus that does; as a result, the first stimulus also comes to elicit a response.
conditioned response (CR)
The response, often similar to the unconditioned response, that is elicited by the conditioned stimulus.
conditioned stimulus (CS)
Any stimulus that, although initially neutral, comes to elicit a response because it has been associated with an unconditioned stimulus.
Conditioning procedure in which the onset of the NS precedes the onset of the US, and the two stimuli overlap.
The reappearance of a habituated response following the presentation of a seemingly irrelevant novel stimulus.
Conditioning procedure in which the NS is associated with the presentation of a US.
fixed action pattern
A fixed sequence of responses elicited by a specific stimulus.
The automatic response of jerking one's hand or foot away from a hot or sharp object.
A decrease in the strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus.
Conditioning procedure in which the NS is associated with the absence or removal of an US.
A theory that proposes that an emotional event elicits two competing processes: (1) an a-process (or primary process) directly elicited by the event, and (2) a b-process (or opponent process) that is elicited by the a-process and serves to counteract the a-process.
The automatic positioning of oneself to facilitate attending to a stimulus.
A relatively simple, involuntary response to a stimulus.
A neural structure that underlies many reflexes and consists of a sensory neuron, an interneuron, and a motor neuron.
An increase in the strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus.
sign stimulus (or releaser)
A specific stimulus that elicits a fixed action pattern.
Conditioning procedure in which the onset of the NS and the onset of the US are simultaneous.
A defensive reaction to a sudden, unexpected stimulus, which involves automatic tightening of skeletal muscles and various hormonal and visceral changes.
Conditioning procedure in which the onset and offset of the NS precede the onset of the US.
unconditioned response (UR)
The response that is naturally elicited by the unconditioned stimulus.
unconditioned stimulus (US)
A stimulus that naturally elicits a response.