38 terms

Radical Behaviorism

Radical Behaviorism
Focused on stimulus-response association
No inner mediators
Efficient causality
Functional analysis
Focused on stimulus-response association - start to radical behaviorism. Skinner was only focused on the effect of the environment on behavior. Operant theory, radical behaviorism is hard to disprove. If you have a behavior that appears to be uncontrolled, no reinforcement or punishment contingencies acting on it then it can always be argued in operant theory that one hasn't done a good enough job to discover what controls the behavior

No inner mediators - inner determinants do not exist. Skinner took no interest in thought, feelings, personality, etc.
Ideas about what causes behavior - these inner mediators are fictitious. Ideas themselves are behaviors, they are covert behaviors, that we cannot directly observe in others. Ideas are just as environmentally controlled as our overt behaviors
The power of the environment to control behavior - skinner argued that reinforced behaviors are more likely to occur under similar stimulus conditions. When you take a behavior and reinforce it that behavior is more likely to recur to the extent that the organism finds itself in similar environmental situations.
Non-reinforced behaviors are less likely to recur given similar stimulus conditions

Efficient causality - Skinner argued that the antecedent chain of events is solely responsible for behavior.

Functional analysis - the main technique to understand the effect of the environment on behavior. We systematically apply and withdraw contingencies of reinforcement and we study the effect of those contingencies on behavior. We can identify the cause of ones behavior
Skinner - Capturing the Imagination
Skinner was a marvelous researcher, academic writer and was able to write to the public. Skinner wanted to have a real effect on the world using his operant principles

At left, a mechanism for a pigeon-guided weapons system developed by Skinner during World War II

Pigeon-guided missiles - Missiles were not that accurate in Skinners time. How do we deal with the problem of inaccuracy. We can train pigeons to peck at a target in the missile to keep it on course.

Pigeon ping-pong - you can teach a pigeon to play ping pong. When the pigeon pecks appropriately it gets food, positive reinforcement

Baby tender - a box in which we can raise children. an environmentally controlled box that takes care of child raising. It changes the child, temperature, and feeds the child.

Teaching machines - teaching is incredibly inefficient. (Rogers said the same thing). They are inefficient because once a child is tested they have to wait a long time for feedback. Most learning is efficient when feedback is given immediately. The student reproduces the desired response and gets positive informational feedback. When the student fails the teaching machine does not provide positive feedback. Ex. Webwork
"We will have to abandon the illusion that men are free agents, in control of their own behavior, for whether we like it or not, we are all 'controlled'."
Social Design (Walden Two) - Skinner
"We can be more deliberate and hence successful in our cultural design. We can achieve a sort of control under which the controlled ... nevertheless feel free. They are doing what they want to do, not what they are forced to do."

A utopian novel - In Walden Two, Skinner wrote that we can create harmonious societies using behavioral principles. There are some jobs that are preferable and others that are not. How do we get people to do the non-preferred jobs? We pay them more. Reinforce them more and as a result all the necessary tasks get accomplished. The people who do the non-preferred jobs have a perception of equity. Therefore we are doing what we want to do, not what we are forced to do.

Twin Oaks - society based on behavioral principles, notions set forth in Walden two
A Skinnerian Glossary - Inner causes
idea is that each one of us arguably have the experience, thought that my behavior is caused internally. According to Skinner Inner causes do not exist. We have not properly analyzed the environmental contingencies of reinforcement that control our behavior.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Thoughts
Each of us has thoughts. But thought is just talking to oneself. And talking is a behavior so talking to one self is a behavior. Thought is a covert behavior and are still under control of the environment. Thoughts do not give rise to behavior. The environment shapes and gives rise to our thoughts
A Skinnerian Glossary - Emotions
- they exist. Emotions are complex, covert behaviors. Emotions are completely controlled by the environment.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Responsibility
- there is no basis whatsoever for personal responsibility for action. All behaviors are controlled by contingencies of reinforcement in the environment
A Skinnerian Glossary - Blame and credit
- lets not blame others (or ourselves) for their actions or credit others for their actions. No one is inherently good and no one is inherently evil. All of our behavior is a direct function of our environment. Because we are not responsible, and neither good nor evil lets not punish people. Lets change the environment in which those actions occur in order to change those actions going forward.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Knowledge of another person
- is our ability to predict and control their behavior. To the extent that we can predict the way in which an environment will predict and control my spouse, I have a sense of knowing her. There is no sense of empathy, understanding that underlies knowledge of another person.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Agency (or purpose)
- fictional inner causes, illusions.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Choice (or will)
- neither choice nor will exist and indeed although at times we have the experience of making a choice, we can explain that through Skinners views. Choice arises when conflicting schedules of reinforcement are established. Ex. You have a test and you have a party (this is an experience of choice). We weigh the reinforcement potential of both options according to our history of reinforcement.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Faith
- arises when we are not aware of what in the environment causes/controls our behavior.
A Skinnerian Glossary - Personality
- we behave in similar ways across time. Consistency in thought, feelings, and behavioral experience is entirely a function of consistency in your environment. We can contribute personality to consistent schedules of reinforcement in the environment. Personality is a repertoire of behavior that looks organized
The Operant Thesis: Critiques of Skinner's Theory - Tautological Aspects
Tautological aspects - There are certain Tautological aspects to Skinner's theory
Tautology - needless repetition of an idea. The idea behind the tautology of Skinner's behaviorism focuses on his definition of reinforcement.
The Operant Thesis: Critiques of Skinner's Theory - reinforcement
Reinforcement- any event in the environment that increases the probability of a behaviors recurring. If an event does not increase the probability of an event recurring then it is not a reinforcement. In this set of reasoning we see circular reasoning, tautological aspects. Reinforcements are defined by their effect and they're defined as the effect that they have on behavior.
The Operant Thesis: Critiques of Skinner's Theory - Can vs. Do problem
"Can vs. do" problem - For Skinner all behaviors can be brought under control of environmental contingencies of reinforcement. This stands in contrast to the thesis that all behaviors are under control of environmental contingencies of reinforcement. In raising this critique psychologists have argued that Skinner goes from the notion that all behaviors can be brought under control to all behaviors are under environmental control without basis.

At times you may engage in some activity that is not at all controlled by the environment. Where do these behaviors fit in to Skinner's theory?
Operant Psychology as Factory Psychology
F. S. Taylor's scientific management
"Planning" and "doing" are separated
F. S. Taylor's scientific management - F. S. Taylor brought Operant Psychology to the workplace. He proposed an approach to work motivation called Scientific Management

Efficiency is the goal - The starting point for Taylors Scientific Management was Efficiency (not employee satisfaction) was the stated goal.

"Planning" and "doing" are separated - in scientific management there are two groups of people: Managers and workers. The managers task is to figure out every detail of every job that needs to be performed (to PLAN). The workers job is to be the managers tools for action (the DOERS).
Operant Psychology as Factory Psychology - How does scientific management work?
The first task for the manager is to identify the most efficient worker and all the tasks that the efficient worker does. Then the manager can contingently reinforce each of the other workers for their actions that approximate the behavior of the most efficient worker. Ex. Miles is the most efficient worker. He wears a sweater to work and brings his computer. One of the workers wears a sweater to work so you give them ten dollars. Another brings their computer, you give them 20 dollars.
Operant Psychology as Factory Psychology
Piece-rate pay system
Workers' reactions
Piece-rate pay system - pay system of scientific management. Workers get paid contingently for the amount of output that is produced, not for the amount of time they are at work.

Fixed-ratio schedule of reinforcement - for every desired behavior you receive contingent pay. You can spend six or a hundred hours at work but the manager will only reinforce your output.

Workers' reactions
Implemented by Henry Ford-
Henry Ford used Scientific Reinforcement - had a great effect on the company. A large amount of output was produced by the workers when they worked on a Piece-rate pay system. The company would make a lot of money and the workers would make a lot of money. There is something about working on this pay system that leaves you feeling exhausted. The workers would go into work and work as hard as they can and eventually they got burnt out. There was a huge rate of ulcers and other related disorders popped up out of nowhere. Workers left the company. Wasn't an issue for Henry Ford because there where many others that wanted to work.

Piece-rate pay system - psychological and physical toll on employees
Social Implications - Secondary reinforcement
- neutral objects that are repeatedly paired with primary reinforcements. As a result of pairing neutral objects with primary reinforcements eventually those neutral objects assume reinforcing properties of their own. We see use of secondary reinforcement all around us, particularly in token economies.
Social Implications - Token Economies
Token economies - are defined as social institutions that rely on secondary reinforcement to control behavior

For example: Gold stars in education - In grade school, gold stars in education. Gold stars example of reinforcement, way to control behavior.

For example: The market economy - controls our behavior, is a secondary reinforcement. Our managers and employers use the market economy to control our behavior. We can think of ourselves as living in giant Skinner boxes and under direct control of environmental contingencies of reinforcement.
The Matching Law - Behavior is a limited resource
From the perspective of Operant psychology Radical Behaviorism, Behavior is a limited resource. We cannot pursue every action that is available to us.
What defines how we allocate our behavioral resource? From the perspective of Radical Behaviorism and Matching Law, Reinforcements define how we allocate our behavioral resources.
The Matching Law - Concurrent schedules of reinforcement
Each one of us is under Concurrent schedules of reinforcement all the time - We have many schedules of reinforcements. We have classes, jobs, time to commit to parents, time to commit to significant others, etc. These concurrent schedules of reinforcement affect our decision making constantly.
According to the Matching Law, we allocate our behavioral resources to the strongest level of reinforcement, which schedule of reinforcement is strongest.
The Matching Law - What predicts our "choices"?
What predicts our "choices"? (we are not actually making a choice, we have the perception of choice). For Herrnstein, The behavioral option, response that we select is a function of three parameters in the environment:

Frequency of reinforcement
Magnitude of reinforcement
Delay of reinforcement

We have the illusion of choice, the perception of selecting the behavior but really we are a pawn to the schedules of reinforcement that are acting on us and the parameters that exist around those levels.
Richard Herrnstein elaborated operant theory to deal with our "choices" in allocating behavior
Frequency of reinforcement
- given the many concurrent schedules of reinforcement that are acting on us we select the behavior that has the highest frequency of reinforcement. Each academic course has its own schedule of reinforcement. Calculus has weekly quizzes. So the likelihood of your allocating your behavioral resources to calculus is high because calculus has a higher frequency of reinforcement.
Magnitude of reinforcement
- we allocate our behavioral resources to the schedule of reinforcement that has the higher magnitude of reinforcement. If Calculus places 5% of your grade in weekly quizzes and physics 10% then we allocate our behavioral resources to physics.
Delay of reinforcement
- We select the behavior that has a lower delay of reinforcement. You have a test tomorrow and your friends are telling you to go out tonight. There is a huge delay of reinforcement with theories of personality but if you go out tonight then there is much more immediate reinforcement that is provided to you.
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis
Therapy from a behavioral perspective
- behavior modification. The sole focus from a behavioral perspective is on behavior. It doesn't matter if you have anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia. The sole focus of Applied Behavior Analysis is behavior and the goal of operant therapy is to increase the rate of adaptive behaviors and decrease the rate of maladaptive behavior.
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis -How does therapy occur? 1
Identify "target" behaviors -Target behaviors within applied behavioral analysis are those behaviors that we either want to increase or decrease. Oftentimes, the behavior analyst will identify those behaviors, but it can also be the person that brings the child to therapy.
-Acquisition, extinction, discrimination, generalization
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis - How does Therapy Occur? 2
a) Acquisition - we acquire positive, adaptive behaviors. Each of us has a behavioral repertoire (some are adaptive, some are maladaptive),
b) extinction - we want to extinguish negative, maladaptive behaviors.
c) discrimination - idea is that the client has to be brought to a place where he or she can distinguish adaptive behaviors from maladaptive behaviors, sometimes we get mixed up because we don't know which behaviors are adaptive to us and which are maladaptive
d) generalization - we take the positive, adaptive behaviors that we learned in therapy and apply them to new life domains.
Once you get a persons behavior under environmental control, you can take the contingencies of reinforcement and apply them to new situations
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis - Increase response likelihood
Increasing and decreasing the response likelihood of particular behaviors - we can change the environment in order to maintain or increase positive behaviors
Positive Reinforcement
Negative Reinforcement
a) Positive reinforcement -
give the person something as a reward for desired behaviors. Ii is important to determine a strong enough reward, reinforcement. What is strong enough for one person might not be strong enough for another. We need to experiment with the type of reward and the amount of reward that will work for a person. (Everyone has a price)
b) Negative reinforcement -
we remove aversive consequences for desired behavior. Most people are on a schedule of negative reinforcement every morning, with an alarm clock. By getting up we remove the aversive stimulus from our lives.
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis - Decrease response likelihood
This is used when we want to end engagement in some negative behavior. The way we terminate engagement in negative behavior is to remove the reinforcement that maintains and controls that behavior. We can remove negative behaviors through the following:
Response cost
Differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors
a) Extinction - we identify the reinforcement that controls behavior and then we remove it from the environment. Extinction is the primary means through which we decrease the response likelihood of undesired behaviors
b) Response cost - you lose a reward, some positive reinforcement, when you engage in an undesired behavior
c) Punishment - extremely ineffective approach to controlling behavior, because the effect of punishment on behavior is easily forgotten. Punishment is not maintained over time. We only use punishment if the punished behavior is more negative than the punishment itself
d) Differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors - we reinforce an alternative behavior, alternative to the one we want to terminate
Operant Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis - Maintenance and transfer
- The biggest problem for behavioral analysis is maintenance and transfer. They both cannot exist according to behavioral theory. All recurring behaviors have been reinforced and in some way or another continue to be reinforced by contingencies in the environment, so in theory they cannot exist.
How does behavioral analysis account for this issue?
The idea behind Behavioral Analysis is to establish contingencies of reinforcement in the therapeutic encounter, and to establish contingencies that can be applied in new domains. If you can get a child under control in the therapeutic encounter then you can apply that behavior to new domains, the ball field, etc.
technique that is used to enhance particularly maintenance is called a Booster Session. There is a periodic exposure to reinforcement contingencies in order to strengthen the effect of the contingency in the real world over time.
Ex. The child is acting up in school and the teacher doesn't know what to do. Bring the child to therapy apply some new contingencies of reinforcement, increase the rewards and the consequences, this is a booster session. The child can now be brought back to the classroom.