PSY330 Columbia Southern Unit V Behavior Modification Case Study Analysis

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PSY330 Theories of Personality

Columbia Southern University



Aaron is an 11-year-old boy in a family of five living in a working-class neighborhood. His father and mother are married but experiencing financial stress as they both work minimum-wage jobs to support Judd (age 13), Aaron, and Twila (age 8). Recently, their stress has increased as Aaron’s principal has sent messages that both his scholastic achievement and his classroom behavior have fallen short of expectations. When asked, Aaron says that he knows he is doing his best in school and that his behavior is no worse than Judd’s was at age 11, though he admits he is often in a hurry to get home and check his social media accounts.

In a two-page essay, examine how Skinner, Bandura, and Beck would each address Aaron’s case. Be sure to contrast both reinforcement and punishment in your discussion of Skinnerian theory, and analyze the major tenets of the theorists in relation to the case.

Use APA formatting to reference the textbook or any outside sources used to support your analysis of the case.

TEXTBOOK: Frager, R., & Fadiman, J. (2013). Personality and personal growth (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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UNIT V STUDY GUIDE Behavioral and Cognitive Theories Course Learning Outcomes for Unit V Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to: 1. Examine the intellectual antecedents to the study of personality. 1.1 Analyze the major tenets of personality theorist Albert Bandura. 1.2 Analyze the major tenets of Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory. 7. Contrast B.F. Skinner’s reinforcement and punishment. 7.1 Examine how Skinner, Bandura, and Beck would each address a specific case. Reading Assignment Chapter 8: B. F. Skinner and Radical Behaviorism Chapter 9: Albert Bandura and Social Cognitive Psychology; Aaron Beck and Cognitive Therapy Unit Lesson At this juncture in the course, we have explored the thoughts of philosophers and giants in the early shaping of psychology. Many theories have taken time to wrap our heads around, and even then there is always more to learn. What if heady concepts like the nature of consciousness and the social impact on female psychology are all an exercise in overthinking? You may be surprised that some big names in the field of psychology may agree with this assertion. B. F. Skinner This unit introduces us to B. F. Skinner who posited that one’s behavior can be observed, measured, and predicted (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). Although Skinner originally attempted to embrace literary writing, he later found his true passion in measurable scientific research. Skinner felt philosophy was having too much impact over this relatively new scientific paradigm and set up laboratories in which he could test his theories. He was influenced by many great minds including Darwin, Watson, and Ivan Pavlov, who was made famous for his work with classical conditioning in dogs. Challenge yourself to see correlations between Skinner’s theories of human behavior and those of his predecessors. Is it possible that behavior is at least largely cause/effect and even potentially programmable? William James might scoff at this as oversimplification, but Skinner and his ilk worked to show that conditioned behavior, not only in animals but also in people, was effective at accurately manipulating and predicting behavior. Are we fully controlled by external factors like punishment and reward? What about genetic history and early parental relationships? As noted throughout this course, we frequently see one theory building on the last. Behaviorism actually arose in opposition to previous theories that focused so heavily on introspection like James’s, psychic themes like Jung’s, and psychosexual structures and desires like those of Freud. Skinner coined the term explanatory fictions (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). In essence, he argued that we can predict future behaviors based upon prior, observable events. Skinner believed that people often embrace erroneous terms and ideologies when they cannot explain certain behaviors. He would not, for example, reflect on early mother-child relationships or the influence of a supposed collective consciousness to explain human behavior; rather, Skinner would point directly to his system of reinforcement and punishment to account for why we do what we do. What do you think? Do you believe in freedom and self-determination? How might your answer affect more esoteric concepts like creativity and beauty? Do you love Renaissance art because it touches you on a spiritual level or because you were always told it was beautiful in art and history courses? As always, you should embrace critical thinking as you examine this section. PSY 3350, Theories of Personality 1 Skinner furthered his discussions with a concrete concept of operant conditioning, means that both UNITwhich x STUDY GUIDE reinforcement and punishment can be added (positive) or subtracted (negative) to impact the outcome of an Title event (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). As a child, what reinforcements were provided to encourage repetition of positive behaviors in your own life? Perhaps you were rewarded with a trip to the movies or an allowance when chores were done. Like other theorists, Skinner took a position on which techniques were likely to encourage the desired change, and an example of his work is provided in your Suggested Reading section. Be careful that you have a true theoretical understanding of the terminology Skinner used—if your understanding of reinforcement/punishment is limited to a treat or a spanking, you will want to read his work again. Both reinforcement and punishment can be achieved through both positive and negative processes. Skinner also came to believe there were very few, if any, motivating factors outside of his concepts of reinforcement and punishment, leading us to refer to his seemingly myopic views as radical behaviorism. Click here for an interactive diagram on operant conditioning. Are you ruled by your emotions? Can psychotherapy actually reshape someone’s behavior, and, if so, might behavioral therapy be more direct than introspection/psychoanalysis? As you conclude your studies on Skinner, pay close attention to his beliefs on emotions, thinking, and knowing. What did he feel was the link between emotions and behaviors? How would a behavior therapist seek to treat a client who is suffering from a sexual dysfunction? What approach would such a therapist use if he or she had a client who excessively abused alcohol? Try to examine Skinner’s theories on behavior as you move through this unit to see if there are areas in your life in which you can modify. Social Cognitive Theory: Albert Bandura What makes our minds tick? Frager and Fadiman (2013) discuss cognitive psychology and the various approaches within this discipline. In particular, how do processes of cognition affect our behavior? Unlike Skinner, Albert Bandura placed a heavier emphasis on social learning than on direct reinforcement/punishment; a link could be drawn to the concept of do not as I say but as I do. Bandura argued that we learn just as much from observing the behavior of others as we do from our personal experiences. If you see someone receive a favorable outcome from a specific behavior, does this increase your likelihood to mimic such actions? Do aggressive parents raise aggressive children? Bandura conducted a very famous experiment known as the Bobo doll study which lends credence to these suppositions. Carefully examine Bandura’s experiment with the Bobo doll to identify your beliefs on observational learning. A link to some original footage from the Bobo doll experiment is also provided in your Suggested Reading section. Modeling is the term Bandura used to describe this phenomenon of social learning, and he identified three conditions which impacted the strength and success of the process: characteristics of models, observers, and any rewards associated with a given behavior (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). Have you benefited in the past from modeling or positive role models? Many students can point to a favorite educator, family member, or even a famous personality who they have emulated at one time or another. Bandura also recognized that the road between environment and behavior need not necessarily be one way. In his reciprocal determinism Bandura illustrated the ways that behavior, internal processes, and environment can all affect each other. Figure 9.1 on page 241 in your textbook gives a quick representation of this triadic reciprocality (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). Bandura argued that people tend to do better when they embrace a positive self-efficacy, or belief in their own abilities (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). In essence, if you believe that you can do something, you will increase your chance for success in a particular area. Can you think of a time when you have given up on a task that seemed unachievable? Perhaps you can recall a time when you overcame something that was previously just as unattainable. For some of us, furthering our education is a constant exercise in believing in our own selfefficacy; hopefully, we have successful models on whom we can pattern some of our habits. PSY 3350, Theories of Personality 2 Cognitive Therapy: Aaron Beck UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title Changing the train of thought again, Aaron Beck emerged in the 1950s with his concept of cognition and automatic thoughts (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). We can liken automatic thoughts to the narrative running in the back of our mind, and this is not always a bad thing. For example, a college student who is up against a deadline may think “One more day…one more day…” or a budding professional may think “I’m close to earning that promotion!” multiple times a day. What if, however, the automatic thoughts we seem to employ are less affirming? Sometimes in psychotherapy we talk about the dangers of should: “I should have done it better, faster, kinder….” This concept of should fits well with Beck’s automatic thoughts and how he felt they could work against our best healthy functioning. How would you describe your own thinking patterns? Beck often encouraged his patients to share their free associations as he worked with them during sessions. He explained that negative emotions can combine with automatic thinking to produce vicious cycles in which one can eventually develop an emotional disorder. This process relates to cognitive schemas or the patterns through which we tend to approach the world (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). Remember Alfred Adler’s inferiority and superiority? We can generally agree that it would be hard to navigate relationships if we were always one extreme or the other. All was not lost, in Beck’s eyes; according to him, one could be healed by proactively embracing therapy and self-help to confront and correct these maladaptive patterns. If my schema is generally negative, for example, and I have an automatic thought telling me it will never work out, cognitive therapists like Beck or Albert Ellis would challenge this assumption, quite abruptly in some cases, in an effort to reprogram unhealthy patterns. Ellis’s rational-emotive therapy (RET) specifically worked to argue against irrational, damaging patterns of thinking using logic. Would you be willing to embrace Albert Ellis’s RET in order to overcome irrational thoughts that you possess? Page 250 in your textbook lists several techniques used in this process such as the confrontation of should, overgeneralizations, and catastrophizing, or making the worst of something (Frager & Fadiman, 2013). Reference Frager, R., & Fadiman, J. (2013). Personality and personal growth (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Suggested Reading In order to access the following resources, click the links below. The following video is an example of Skinner Box and Scheduled Reinforcement: jenningh. (2007, March 20). Operant conditioning [Video file]. Retrieved from Albert Bandura discusses his famed Bobo doll study in the following video: Stienissen, G. (2010, August 19). Bobo doll experiment [Video file]. Retrieved from PSY 3350, Theories of Personality 3
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Behavior Modification
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Aaron is undergoing stress; stress is an inner condition that an individual bear with as a
result of demands that seem to be too many exceeding an individual's capability or maybe the
resources at his or her disposal are minimal. In this case, Aaron is undergoing stress due to the
financial constraints his father and mother are going through as they work jobs with very
minimal wages and they have to support three children, Judd, Aaron, and Twilla. This, however,
may be the reason as to why Aaron's performance is deteriorating as well as his character falling
short of expectations. Skinner a psychologist would, however, address this issue more
strategically through his Skinnerian theory of behaviorism. This theory says that certain behavior
is affected by the consequences. Skinner, theref...

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