Behaviour modification in psychology is concerned with analyzing and modifying human behaviour. Behaviour modification procedures are used by professionals to change socially significant behaviours, with the goal of improving some aspect of a person’s life. In short, behaviour modification refers to techniques used to try to increase or decrease a particular type of behaviour or reaction. It’s very frequently used by all of us on a daily basis:
• parents and teachers use this to teach children right from wrong.
• Animal trainers use it to develop obedience between a pet and an owner
• Therapists use it to promote healthy behaviours in their patients.
Behaviour modification is based on the concept of conditioning which is a form of learning. There are two major types of conditioning:
1. Classical conditioning which depends on a particular signal or stimulus.
2. Operant conditioning which involves rewards and punishments.
Techniques used:
1. Positive reinforcement-when used appropriately, it is one of the most powerful of all the behaviour modification tools.
2. Negative reinforcement-It is based on the decrease of something undesired such as pain or anxiety. It is not punishment.
3. Positive punishment-This is what most people mean when they use the word ‘punishment’. Designed to weaken behaviours by pairing unpleasant stimulus to a behaviour.
4. Negative punishment-This corresponds to a decrease in something desirable following some behaviour.
5. Systemic Desensitization-It is used to treat phobias and anxiety.
6. Aversion therapy-It is pairing of an unpleasant stimulus to an unwanted behaviour which then helps in decreasing the unwanted behaviour.
7. Extinction- It is a powerful tool and works especially well with young children. It involves removal of all reinforcements that might be associated with a behaviour.
8. Flooding-It is an approach to extinction. It involves bombarding the person with the anxiety producing stimuli and/or keeping the person in the anxiety situation without escape. Has to be used with caution.
Behaviour modification techniques are useful
• to improve student-teacher interactions
• to improve teaching methods
• to reduce problem behaviours in classroom
• to improve academic performance
Child Management
Help children overcome
-temper tantrums
-non compliance
-aggressive behaviours
-bad manners
Developmental Disabilities
People with developmental disabilities often have serious behavioural deficits, and behaviour modification has been used to teach a variety of functional skills to overcome these deficits.
Serious problem behaviours such as self-injurious behaviours, aggressive behaviours, and destructive behaviours can often be controlled ot eliminated using behaviour modification.
Sports Behaviour modification is widely used in the field of sports to promote health related behaviours by increasing healthy lifestyle behaviours and decreasing unhealthy behaviours.
Rehabilitation It is used in rehabilitation
• to promote compliance with rehabilitation routines such as physical therapy
• to teach new skills to replace skills lost through injury or trauma
• to decrease problem behaviours
• to improve memory performance