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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Behaviourism and Behaviour Modification?

    I'm not sure whether to post this here or in other psychology, what's everyones views on either of these topics? Are they abjectly evil for their consequences for both the object of the design and those who deliver on them? Or are they unjustifiably demonised and legit forms of treatment or teaching practices?

    Perhaps you think that they're nothing other than scientific observations of conditioning and engineering which takes place whether subjects of those processes are aware of them or not?

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    Senior Member Grace's Avatar
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    It's weird that you just posted this because I am currently trying to write a paper about a behavior modification project I need to carry out for class. I'm going to try to elimante non-compliance behaviors in my boyfriend's three-year-old but it seems a bit odd to me. I don't necessarily like being forced to use people I know as test subjects, but this is what my Professor wants.

    As far as Behaviorism and behavior modification, I think there are many practical applications but the theory also needs to be taken with a grain of salt. We are not blank slates as many of the early behaviorists believe, so much of the theories behind behaviorism are over simplified, in my opinion. I think it can be effective in modifiying behavior though, as countless studies have shown.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Well, the very earliest behaviourists didnt believe in thinking or at least believed there was no scientific or therapeutic worth in introspective or speculation about thinking and thought processes, the cognitivists, to the best of my understanding, only really came into being a force when artificial intelligene and computer programming started to develop and require a model of processing or "thinking". I think that's a bit mad, I could have it wrong or muddled because its a while since I read it but I dont think that programming analogues for human beings are perfect.

    What sort of behaviour modification are you going to use? Is the use of close family as test subjects to get you to self-reflect? On the ethics, partiality etc. Will you use aversion therapy or rewards conditioning to effect a change in non-compliance?

    My views about behaviourism are pretty much summed up in the toon in my profile of the dog and Pavlov, there is a saying that the mice performing stunts for their cheese were actually conditioning the scientists conducting the experiments, I think this holds true and only hints at the radically reciprocal and systematic nature of behaviour and motivation. Behaviour modification is over simplified but I do believe that even when properly understood or done well/ethically/competently the possibility of it traumatising or corrupting both parties remains.

    All research into therapy has indicated that quite apart from the techniques or methodologies involved, which can be very, very different from one another, that it is the relationship involved between each party to the work which is of vital importance and I think that behaviour modification programmes only damage relationships and capacities or opportunities to relate. That relating is vital to anyone and on going, in some people it manifests itself wrongly or oddly because of their early life experiences and how that's lead to attachment seeking being patterned on to their brain.

    Often the real conditioning involved is about power, recognising power, valuing power, subjects learn about obeying power until you can exercise it yourself in a different capacity or context and this gives rise to what Eric Fromm talked about in Fear of Freedom especially. Authoritarian personas who are obediently submissive to a superiors and tyranising towards subordinates in order to relieve anxieties and uncertainty.

    All that said I think the theory is good, if only because other theories have been developed in contrast with it, and I also think that it does a great service in highlighting, no matter how imperfectly, the role of stimulus and conditioning as a determinant of behaviour or habits at the very least.

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think it's something to be aware of and a useful tool at times. We are almost always conditioning and being conditioned by those we interact with, but I don't believe that this contradicts conscious thought or is inherently evil.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Senior Member Grace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What sort of behaviour modification are you going to use? Is the use of close family as test subjects to get you to self-reflect? On the ethics, partiality etc. Will you use aversion therapy or rewards conditioning to effect a change in non-compliance?
    I am not quite sure yet as I am just beginning my research on studies in non-compliance with children. So far many of the methods are using Time Out (punishment) but I think I would rather go in the direction of positive reinforcement for compliance rather than punishment for non-compliance. I think positive reinforcement is better to use with children than punishment, when applicable. I still have to do a functional assessment with my boyfriend's daughter to see if I can spot what it is that is reinforcing the behavior of non-compliance (getting attention would be my best guess). I will then need to eliminate that reinforcer and possibly add in a differential reinforcement. If anything interesting occurs with this I will let you know. As far as using people who are close to us as test subjects, it is simply a matter of convenience. He did say we could use ourselves but I am afraid that I am not self-aware enough for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    My views about behaviourism are pretty much summed up in the toon in my profile of the dog and Pavlov, there is a saying that the mice performing stunts for their cheese were actually conditioning the scientists conducting the experiments, I think this holds true and only hints at the radically reciprocal and systematic nature of behaviour and motivation.
    That is an interesting way of looking at things.

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    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    the principals are used everywhere, I do customer insight/market research which feeds into behavioural modification that gets made into marketing, TV and communications activities....

    I also used Beh Mod techneques to manage disturbed behaviour to reasonably good effect as a nurse for people with mental handicaps. For some it kept them out of state mental hospital, for others it stopped them from abusing people around them

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    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    I was amused when I read the article What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage a few years back, which kind of relates to applying b-mod to people. The article is more fun than deeply insightful.

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