- Antecedent: I am at the gym and there are lots of other people nearby working out, waiting for the machines. I am finished on the elliptical. The paper towels and spray are nearby.
- Behaviour: I wet a paper towel with the spray and wipe down the elliptical.
- Consequence: I carry on with my day and avoid the disapproving looks from others (avoid punishment).
- A lot of our social norms and etiquette are followed in order to avoid punishment from our peers and members of the community. Aside from the occasional altruistic sources of reinforcement, some of us adhere to the social rules to avoid being negatively judged or excluded from "the group". The gym is a social environment full of unwritten social rules, that when broken, cause quite a stir among its members. Fail to wipe down your machine? Looks of disgust may follow. Grunt loudly as you lift weights? People may choose to workout farther away from you. Using the machines as a rest stop? Watch out for the eye rolls and not-so-subtle sighs that should indicate you are doing something wrong. I have even seen some members approach the staff to "tell on" another member failing to observe the rules of the gym.
- All of these efforts by other group members are designed to punish (i.e., decrease) the undesirable behaviour of the rule-breakers. I'm just not convinced everyone is getting *those* messages.
Congratulations! I still have a ways to go… What is your thesis on? I might like to read it, depending :D
Thank you! In our program we don’t have a thesis per say; rather we do a major research project (lit review, meta-analysis etc.) Instead of an oral defense, we had to present at our department’s research poster presentation day.
My project was on finding the common practice elements in successful behaviour analytic treatments of aggression in children and youth with developmental disabilities. I compared the successful treatment elements across variables such as subjects’ ages group, diagnoses, treatment setting and the function of aggression.
It may not be that exciting or groundbreaking but at least it may inform clinicians on the types of effective interventions that can be applied depending on the circumstances unique to their client. This is a common-elements approach to using evidenced-based practices (Chorpita, Daleiden & Weisz, 2005).
Chorpita, B.F., Daleiden, E.L., & Weisz, J.R. (2005). Identifying and selecting the common elements of evidence based interventions: A distillation and matching model. Mental Health Services Research, 7(1), 5-20.