The three-term contingency (also known as the ABC contingency) in operant conditioning—or contingency management—describes the relationship between a behavior, its consequence, and the environmental context. The three-term contingency was first defined by B. F. Skinner in the early 1950s.It is often used within ABA to alter the frequency of socially significant human behavior.
The antecedent stimulus occurs first in the contingency and signals that reinforcement or punishment is available on the contingency of a specific behavior. A discriminative stimuli, or SD, directly affects the likelihood of a specific response occurring.
The behavior, also referred to as the response, is any observable and measurable action a living organism can do. In the three-term contingency, behavior is operant, meaning it changes the environment in some way.
The consequence to a behavior can be reinforcing or punishing. Reinforcing consequences increase the likelihood of a behavior occurring in the future; it is further divided into positive and negative reinforcement. Punishing consequences decrease the likelihood of a behavior occurring in the future; like reinforcement, it is divided into positive and negative punishment.
The effectiveness and value of a consequence is determined by the motivating operations the organism has. For example, deprivation of food can make food more effective as a consequence, and the satiation of hunger can make food less effective as a consequence.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. He was the Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974.
Operant conditioning is a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such learning.
In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is a consequence applied that will strengthen an organism's future behavior whenever that behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus. This strengthening effect may be measured as a higher frequency of behavior, longer duration, greater magnitude, or shorter latency. There are two types of reinforcement, known as positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement; positive is where by a reward is offered on expression of the wanted behaviour and negative is taking away an undesirable element in the persons environment whenever the desired behaviour is achieved. Rewarding stimuli, which are associated with "wanting" and "liking" and appetitive behavior, function as positive reinforcers; the converse statement is also true: positive reinforcers provide a desirable stimulus. Reinforcement does not require an individual to consciously perceive an effect elicited by the stimulus. Thus, reinforcement occurs only if there is an observable strengthening in behavior. However, there is also negative reinforcement, which is characterized by taking away an undesirable stimulus. Changing someone's job might serve as a negative reinforcer to someone who suffers from back problems, i.e. Changing from a labourers job to an office position for instance.
Radical behaviorism was pioneered by B. F. Skinner and is his "philosophy of the science of behavior." It refers to the philosophy behind behavior analysis, and is to be distinguished from methodological behaviorism—which has an intense emphasis on observable behaviors—by its inclusion of thinking, feeling, and other private events in the analysis of human and animal psychology. The research in behavior analysis is called the experimental analysis of behavior and the application of this field is called applied behavior analysis (ABA), which was originally termed "behavior modification."
The experimental analysis of behavior is school of thought in psychology founded on B. F. Skinner's philosophy of radical behaviorism and defines the basic principles used in applied behavior analysis. A central principle was the inductive reasoning data-driven examination of functional relations, as opposed to the kinds of hypothetico-deductive learning theory that had grown up in the comparative psychology of the 1920–1950 period. Skinner's approach was characterized by observation of measurable behavior which could be predicted and controlled. It owed its early success to the effectiveness of Skinner's procedures of operant conditioning, both in the laboratory and in behavior therapy.
Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that behavior is either a reflex evoked by the pairing of certain antecedent stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual's history, including especially reinforcement and punishment contingencies, together with the individual's current motivational state and controlling stimuli. Although behaviorists generally accept the important role of heredity in determining behavior, they focus primarily on environmental events.
The law of effect is a psychology principle advanced by Edward Thorndike in 1898 on the matter of behavioral conditioning which states that "responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation."
Dog training is the application of behavior analysis which uses the environmental events of antecedents and consequences to modify the dog behavior, either for it to assist in specific activities or undertake particular tasks, or for it to participate effectively in contemporary domestic life. While training dogs for specific roles dates back to Roman times at least, the training of dogs to be compatible household pets developed with suburbanization in the 1950s.
Animal training is the act of teaching animals specific responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Training may be for purposes such as companionship, detection, protection, and entertainment. The type of training an animal receives will vary depending on the training method used, and the purpose for training the animal. For example, a seeing eye dog will be trained to achieve a different goal than a wild animal in a circus.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA), also called behavioral engineering, is a scientific discipline concerned with applying empirical techniques based upon the principles of learning to change behavior of social significance. It is the applied form of behavior analysis; the other two forms are radical behaviorism and the experimental analysis of behavior.
Behavior therapy or behavioral psychotherapy is a broad term referring to clinical psychotherapy that uses techniques derived from behaviorism. Those who practice behavior therapy tend to look at specific, learned behaviors and how the environment influences those behaviors. Those who practice behavior therapy are called behaviourists, or behavior analysts. They tend to look for treatment outcomes that are objectively measurable. Behavior therapy does not involve one specific method but it has a wide range of techniques that can be used to treat a person's psychological problems. Traditional behavior therapy draws from respondent conditioning and operant conditioning to solve patients problems.
Shaping is a conditioning paradigm used primarily in the experimental analysis of behavior. The method used is differential reinforcement of successive approximations. It was introduced by B. F. Skinner with pigeons and extended to dogs, dolphins, humans and other species. In shaping, the form of an existing response is gradually changed across successive trials towards a desired target behavior by reinforcing exact segments of behavior. Skinner's explanation of shaping was this:
We first give the bird food when it turns slightly in the direction of the spot from any part of the cage. This increases the frequency of such behavior. We then withhold reinforcement until a slight movement is made toward the spot. This again alters the general distribution of behavior without producing a new unit. We continue by reinforcing positions successively closer to the spot, then by reinforcing only when the head is moved slightly forward, and finally only when the beak actually makes contact with the spot. ... The original probability of the response in its final form is very low; in some cases it may even be zero. In this way we can build complicated operants which would never appear in the repertoire of the organism otherwise. By reinforcing a series of successive approximations, we bring a rare response to a very high probability in a short time. ... The total act of turning toward the spot from any point in the box, walking toward it, raising the head, and striking the spot may seem to be a functionally coherent unit of behavior; but it is constructed by a continual process of differential reinforcement from undifferentiated behavior, just as the sculptor shapes his figure from a lump of clay.
An avoidance response is a response that prevents an aversive stimulus from occurring. It is a kind of negative reinforcement. An avoidance response is a behavior based on the concept that animals will avoid performing behaviors that result in an aversive outcome. This can involve learning through operant conditioning when it is used as a training technique. It is a reaction to undesirable sensations or feedback that leads to avoiding the behavior that is followed by this unpleasant or fear-inducing stimulus.
A token economy is a system of contingency management based on the systematic reinforcement of target behavior. The reinforcers are symbols or tokens that can be exchanged for other reinforcers. A token economy is based on the principles of operant conditioning and behavioral economics and can be situated within applied behavior analysis. In applied settings token economies are used with children and adults; however, they have been successfully modeled with pigeons in lab settings.
In psychology, a social trap is a situation in which a group of people act to obtain short-term individual gains, which in the long run leads to a loss for the group as a whole. Examples of social traps include overfishing, energy "brownout" and "blackout" power outages during periods of extreme temperatures, the overgrazing of cattle on the Sahelian Desert, and the destruction of the rainforest by logging interests and agriculture.
In operant conditioning, punishment is any change in a human or animal's surroundings which, occurring after a given behavior or response, reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. As with reinforcement, it is the behavior, not the human/animal, that is punished. Whether a change is or is not punishing is determined by its effect on the rate that the behavior occurs, not by any "hostile" or aversive features of the change. For example, a painful stimulus which would act as a punisher for most people may actually reinforce some behaviors of masochistic individuals.
Behavioral momentum is a theory in quantitative analysis of behavior and is a behavioral metaphor based on physical momentum. It describes the general relation between resistance to change and the rate of reinforcement obtained in a given situation.
Mand is a term that B.F. Skinner used to describe a verbal operant in which the response is reinforced by a characteristic consequence and is therefore under the functional control of relevant conditions of deprivation or aversive stimulation. One cannot determine, based on form alone, whether a response is a mand; it is necessary to know the kinds of variables controlling a response in order to identify a verbal operant. A mand is sometimes said to "specify its reinforcement" although this is not always the case. Skinner introduced the mand as one of six primary verbal operants in his 1957 work, Verbal Behavior.
Motivating operation (MO) is a behavioristic concept introduced by Jack Michael in 1982. It is used to explain variations in the effects in the consequences of behavior. Most importantly, a MO affects how strongly the person is reinforced or punished by the consequences of their behavior. For example, food deprivation is a motivating operation; if a person is hungry, food is strongly reinforcing, but if a person is satiated, food is less reinforcing. In 2003 Laraway suggested subdividing MOs into those that increase the reinforcing or punishing effects of a stimulus, which are termed establishing operations, and MOs that decrease the reinforcing or punishing effects of a stimulus, which are termed abolishing operations.
Association in psychology refers to a mental connection between concepts, events, or mental states that usually stems from specific experiences. Associations are seen throughout several schools of thought in psychology including behaviorism, associationism, psychoanalysis, social psychology, and structuralism. The idea stems from Plato and Aristotle, especially with regard to the succession of memories, and it was carried on by philosophers such as John Locke, David Hume, David Hartley, and James Mill. It finds its place in modern psychology in such areas as memory, learning, and the study of neural pathways.