Nail Biting Behavior Essay

915 Words4 Pages
The current research was conducted by a 22-year-old female student at Dalton State College. This research was completed as an assignment for a psychology undergrad class. Because of the subject’s history with nail biting, the purpose of this research was to reduce its occurrence and severity. The study was self-administered and was carried out for a three week period. As described below, conditioned taste aversion was implemented to reduce nail biting. Materials During the baseline and intervention periods, the occurrence of nail biting was self-monitored and recorded by marking tallies in a notepad. Nail biting behavior was operationalized as any time the subject’s finger nails or cuticles were placed past the lips and into the mouth to gnaw.…show more content…
The study was self-monitored and lasted a total of three weeks; it began on Sunday, March 13 and ended on Saturday, April 2. The amount of times the biting behavior occurred was informally measured once the subject awoke (average time 7:30 A. M.) and when she retired for the night (average time 12:00 A.M.). For future applications, this timeframe may need to be adjusted according to individual sleep patterns. During the first week, the subject kept a record to establish a baseline rate of the target behavior; thereafter, the treatment was introduced during week two. In order to prevent the nail polish from chipping or being washed off, Magique was re-applied each day of the treatment session to maintain high salience. The schedule of reinforcement was fixed ratio; since each time the nails or cuticles were bitten, a bad taste was delivered. When returning to the baseline period (week three), the Equate nail polish remover was used. Because this product was acetone based, the fingers were adamantly washed to prevent the addition of another aversive stimulus. Once the bitter taste was removed, a baseline rate was taken to see whether the treatment was effective. After the final day of research was complete, the data was graphed for visual analysis (figure 1). Although nail measurements were not taken, pictures were taken at the end of each week for independent…show more content…
As with any self-experimentation, there is the likelihood that data may be misreported or manipulated. For future applications, it may be beneficial to include a treatment integrity procedure. Such a procedure would include a trained observer to monitor the subject’s nail biting, which would aid in establishing interrater reliability. Additionally, while week three eventually resulted in regular nail biting, there was significantly less nail biting during the first two days. This could be attributed to the fact that although special care was taken to remove the nail polish, it still remained under the nail and around the finger
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