Behavior Modification Essay example

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Behavior Modification

Behavior Modification, a psychological theory of human behavior. It evolved from the application of experimentally derived principles of learning to the modification of problem behaviors. The theory is based on a psychological model of human behavior that rejects the psychoanalytic or quasi-disease model of mental illness. Approaches to behavior modification assume that abnormal behavior is acquired and maintained in the same manner as normal behavior and can be changed directly through the application of social-learning principles. Assessment procedures focus on describing how an individual behaves, thinks, and feels in specific situations. Treatment methods are derived from the theories and findings of
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This procedure, used to alleviate anxiety in adult patients, became one of the best-known and most widely used behavior-modification techniques.
Another key development in the evolution of behavior modification was the work of Hans Eysenck and his colleagues in England in the 1950s. Eysenck defined behavior modification as the application of modern learning theory to the treatment of behavioral and emotional problems. He held that, in contrast to traditional psychoanalytic procedures, the efficacy of behavior-modification procedures could be verified through experiments.
The third major development in the evolution of behavior modification was the publication in 1953 of B. F. Skinner's Science and Human Behavior. This work heralded a philosophical shift from the search for inner causes of behavior to an emphasis on the measurement and modification of observable behavior.
A fundamental tenet of Skinner's radical behaviorism is that the probability of a behavior is related directly to the nature of the environmental consequences that follow performance of that behavior. From this basic tenet he derived a set of procedures for modifying behavior by a method called operant conditioning. Specifically, behavior is strengthened, or increased in frequency, when followed by either a positive consequence (positive reinforcement) or removal of a negative consequence (negative reinforcement). Behavior is weakened, or decreased
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