Behavioral Terms


The horizontal reference axis on a graph.

Providing an objective demonstration in measurable terms of the effectiveness of given programs. (Ex: Increase in reading scores following a contingency contract)
The gradual reduction of responses or responsiveness as an organism adjusts to the introduction of new stimuli into the environment.
Adaptation Period
The phase (time period) in any behavior program during which the subject(s) adjust to any novel stimuli that have been introduced into the environment.
Adaptive Behavior
Behavior that serves to ensure survival or is considered appropriate in specified societal contexts such as school.
A condition in which cessation or reinforcement (usually physiological) produces physical or psychological problems in abstinence.
Alternating Treatments Design
Two or more interventions suspected to efect change are selected and either rotated or placed in a predetermined order such that data can be collected as to the effect each has on the targeted behavior.

Applied Research
Research that is directed toward an analysis of variables that can be effective in improving behavior under study. Often conducted in natural settings.
Observable endorsement of behavior.
Aversive Control
Withdrawal or presentation of aversive stimuli, which then maintating or increases the frequency of a response. Types:1) Escape – organism terminates aversive stimulus after it has begun2) Avoidance – Organism postpones the beginning of aversive stimuli3) Punishment – Responses followed by an aversive stimuli.

Aversive Stimuli
Any stimulus an organism will escape from, avoid, or terminate.
Back-up Reinforcer
Object or event that’s already demonstrated its reinforcing effect on individual. Is received in exchange for a number of token, points, etc..

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Stable, usually recoverable, performance (5 or more observations) upon which effects of an experimental variable can be assessed.
Any act of organism, internal or external, that can be measured.

4 relationships with environment1) Dependent – Event, by nature, must follow a behavior (water stops when you turn faucet off)2) Contingent – Events follows behavior but doesn’t have to. (Reinforcement after behavior)3) Superstitious – Behavior has nothing to do with reinforcer (rubbing luck charm)4) Random – No logical relationship between event/environment and behavior.

Behavior Modification
Changing behavior using reinforcement and/or non-reinforcement.
Behavior Therapy
Application of learning theory techniques for the purpose of changing maladaptive behavior.
Behavioral Approach
Approach where values and/or ideas are operationally defined into directly observable and measurable behaviors.
Behavioral Contrast
Behavior is placed on one reinforcement schedule with a stimulus conditionAND another schedule with different stimulus condition.

In such situation, decrease of one may be accompanied by increase of other.

Behavioral Dimensions
Measurable descriptive characteristics of behavior such as frequency, intensity, duration, and topography.
Behavioral Goal
Specification of set of responses to be emitted by subject upon completion of behavior modification program.
Series of two or more responses joined together into a complex behavioral sequence by stimuli that act as both discriminative stimuli and conditioned reinforcers.

Changing Criterion Design
Design used to shape behavior by requiring a gradual stepwise change in behavior in order to receive reinforcement.
Cognitive Behavior Modification
Application of behavioral principles and techniques of behavioral therapy to cognitive problems.
Conditioned Aversive stimuli
Formerly neutral stimulus that’s been paired with an unconditioned stimulus or a reinforcing stimulus (negative) and has been taken on the reinforcing properties of the stimulus with which it has been paired.
Conditioned Reflex
A reflex that is elicited by a formerly neutral stimulus that has been paired with the naturally eliciting stimulus.

Conditioned Reinforcer
Stimuli that acquires the power to reinforce behavior through being paired with something that has stronger conditioned reinforcers. (Money. Money is useless unless exchanged for things)
Conditioned Stimulus
Formerly neutral stimulus that’s been paired with an unconditioned stimulus or a reinforcing stimulus (positive or negative) and has been taken on the reinforcing properties of the stimulus with which it has been paired.
Neutral stimulus may become reinforcer through association with another reinforcer. (Like when a dog knows it’s time to be feed. A behavior is associated with food, so they start drooling even if their isn’t food.)
Confounding Variables
Variables that are operating in an experimental study, which make the effects of the experimental manipulation on the independent variable difficult to evaluate precisely.
Consequence following behavior.

Behavior relationship with environmental events that follow the behavior, either increase or decrease the probability of similar behavior in the future.
Contingency Contract
Written contract specifying behavior contingencies between persons involved.
Contingency Control
Ability to manipulate the environment consequences of a given behavior in order to achieve a specific .behavioral goal.
Specific consequence dependent upon a behavior.

Either increases, decreases, or eliminates behavior.

Continuous Field
A continuum of stimuli.
Continuous Response
Response that does not have a clearly discriminable beginning or end.

written document regulating contingencies.
Structuring responses that are incompatible with one another.
Specification of a predetermined behavioral performance that is to be achieved.
Stimulus used to help an individual remember to produce any specified response, which may then be reinforced.
Dependent Variable
Variable dependent on other variables.
Removal of the occurrence of a stimuli.
Eliminating anxiety-stimuli through extinction and reconditioning.

3 operations.1)Training muscle relaxation2)Making anxiety hierarchy3)counter-posing relaxation and anxiety stimuli from the hierarchies.

Differential Punishment
Extinguishing of certain behaviors while others are being reinforced.

Differential Reinforcement
Strengthening behaviors while extinguishing others.
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviors (DRA)
A reinforcer follows a behavior that is an alternative to a targeted behavior. Topographically dissimilar.

(Ex: Targeting being in your seat)

Differential Reinforcement of High Rates(DRH)
Selective contingent reinforcement of a grouping of responses that occur in rapid succession.
Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible (DRI)
Reinforcer follows a response incompatible with a targeted behavior.
Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates (DRL)
Responses are spaced relatively far apart in time and are selectively reinforced.
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors (DRO)
Receives reinforcement for every behavior except for one.

Thus, it decreases.

Any observable consequence to behavior defined negatively by the organism receiving it.
Discrete Stimuli
Seperate presentation of stimuli.

Discriminative Stimulus
An environmental event that sets the occasion for responses that are followed by reinforcement. The probability of the response is high only when certain environmental events are present. Whenever the discriminative stimulus is present, specific responses may then be reinforced.
Eliciting Stimuli
Environmental events that reularly precede responses.

They elicit relatively fixed and stereotyped responses.

Complex response elicited and occasioned by environmental conditions and composed of both operants and respondents.