ps385 targeted topics in applied behavior analysis

  • Watch the Unit 2 Lecture. (Transcripts)
  • Read the following scenario and respond to the primary post instructions and response instructions.

Setting the Scene:

You are a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) working for a school district in an inner city. You go from school-to-school on a rotating schedule, unless you are called in on a specific case. Yesterday afternoon, you received a call from Talbot Middle School. The principal explained that Mrs. Judson was having great difficulty with a student. When you asked about the situation, the principal said that each time Mrs. Judson handed out math or spelling worksheets, Tommy tore up the worksheets, ran to the back of the room, and began throwing the books out of the bookshelves toward the teacher. You asked how Mrs. Judson usually responded to the behaviors and the principal said she buzzed the office and asked that he come to her classroom to remove Tommy. The behavior has been happening twice a day for three weeks.

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  • Identify the target behavior and the antecedents and consequences in the scenario.
  • Operationally define the target behavior.
  • Based upon the contingencies (antecedent – behavior – consequence), hypothesize the probable function of the target behavior.
  • Design a behavior intervention plan to address the behavior based upon the probable function that you identified.

Guided Response Posts:

Respond to two peers’ primary posts by critiquing their hypotheses of the probable function of the target behavior. Was the correct function identified? If not, identify the correct function of the target behavior and explain why you believe this to be the correct function. Then, provide an alternative behavior intervention for the target behavior. Provide a different intervention for each peer to whom you respond.

Reading and Resources

Read the following:

Chapter 11 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.): “Positive Reinforcement” (pp. 252-269)

Positive reinforcement is explained and the different types of positive reinforcement are presented. The three- and four-term contingencies are discussed and how they relate to the concept of positive reinforcement is explained. Options for determining positive reinforcers for individuals are presented.

Chapter 12 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.): “Negative Reinforcement”

The principle of negative reinforcement is discussed in terms of what it is and how it is both similar to, and different from, positive reinforcement. Escape and avoidance behaviors are discussed in terms of their association with negative reinforcement. How negative reinforcement can be used to produce desired and undesired behaviors is discussed, as is the ethical considerations involved in the use of negative reinforcement.

Chapter 13 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.): “Schedules of Reinforcement” (pp. 301-310)

Schedules of reinforcement are explained in terms of naturally occurring reinforcement and discriminative and non-discriminative schedules of reinforcement. The effects of the various schedules of reinforcement are explained.

Chapter 14 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.): “Positive Punishment” (pp. 326-331)

Positive punishment is explained and examples are provided. The potential side effects of punishment are explored, as are the ethical considerations of punishment programs. Finally, factors that influence the effectiveness of punishment procedures are discussed.

Chapter 24 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.): “Extinction” (pp. 582-593)

The extinction procedure is explained and its uses are explored. Common misconceptions regarding extinction procedures are discussed and the phenomena of extinction bursts and spontaneous recovery are examined. The authors also explain the variables that can affect resistance to extinction.

Chapter 9 in Ethics for Behavior Analysts (3rd edition): “Behavior Analysts and the Behavior-Change Program (Code 4.0)”

Chapter 9 explains the behavior analyst’s responsibility for all aspects of the behavior-change program. Code 4.0 and its sub-sections focus on the requirement for individualized behavior change programs, informed consent, the need to describe in writing the objectives of the program, the criteria for success, and the criteria for discontinuing services. Real world scenarios are utilized to build understanding of how this code is applied in practice.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W.L (2019). Applied behavior

analysis (3rd ed.)

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