This article highlights that while you can remove the means (i.e., the discriminative stimulus) the problem behaviour can resurface if you don’t address the source of reinforcement (i.e., the function). Addicts will substitute one vice for another in meeting their need or want for whatever reinforces their consumption.
As with any behaviour change, both sides of the behaviour need to be analyzed and planned for. Motivation and the means are the antecedents and the outcomes or what the person gets out of it are the consequences.
This is the same issue with gun control that people call for when ever there is a brazen shooting or gang violence. Banning guns or insisting that people carry licenses is only one part of a solution. Figuring out why a youth deems it necessary to carry one or ultimately use one and then addressing those needs is another. There are many more layers to be found there (and with addicts) I’m sure.
“I guess the natural consequence of “being a behaviourist” is that people assume that I walk around all day with my sticker charts telling people to just put consequences in place. It’s a shame that the judgement we ask not be assumed about our most challenging learners is not extended to professionals based on their labels”
Part of my response to an educator who causally linked a post on how natural consequences do not teach students after I identified as being a behaviourist in support of Collaborative Problem Solving (Ross Greene).
Yes, those two things can co-exist.
And I get it. You were taught in university or college that behaviourism is dead. Alfie Kohn told you that people like me manipulate and harm children with our behaviourist approach. Ed reformers tell you consequences and rewards are bad things and should be abolished.
I am a behaviourist. At the end of the day I want what you want: our learner to succeed; our learner to acquire the skills necessary to participate in our community and do things that are meaningful to them. Sometimes, challenging behaviour gets in the way of that and is usually a symptom of underdeveloped adaptive behaviour skills. I teach and reinforce replacement behaviours without dangling carrots in front of them, if you will. I model coping skills and problem solving with the intent that next time, they might do the same (and hopefully I am there to catch them doing it so that I can give feedback). I do this without shaming them or insisting that “bad” behaviour be punished. And I coach parents and teachers to embody the same approach.
You can call me a behaviourist, but please do not assume what I do is bad, cold or manipulative because I speak of consequences.
I help people, not control them: http://tmblr.co/Z-t1fx92PjZ5
Consequences are all around us: http://tmblr.co/Z-t1fxETxewE
I hate those behaviour charts anyway: http://tmblr.co/Z-t1fxN76Wxq
“In fact, in Zimbabwe excessive complaining is considered to be a sign of relapsing psychotic illness, whereas in America it is a normal and even valued behavior.”
Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa by Paul R Linde
It today’s North American culture complaining is normal because it is a verbal behaviour that has been reinforced. Acts of complaining are typically followed by one of these consequences that reinforce the behaviour:
Attention - “Oh, life is hard for you right now.”, “You’ll be okay.”, “Let me help you”
Escape - “Okay, you don’t have to do X, Y and Z anymore.”
Tangible - “Here, have this instead” as a substitute item is given to them.
And, I suppose that for some people the sound of their own voice could be reinforcer enough; though, it would be hard to tease out the social aspect of complaining when there is almost always an audience.
Until our social environment is prepared to put complaining on extinction by not responding to it at all, we will remain a society where complaining is a norm.
In the world of a behaviourist, the ABC’s mean more than just the letters of the alphabet. They represent the relationship as part of one’s behaviour(s): the (A)ntecedent-(B)ehaviour-(C)onsequence chain that is most of the behaviours we demonstrate. To keep things simple, antecedents are things that happen before a noted behaviour. You can call them “triggers” or “cues” if you’d like. For example, for many of us on the roads, the traffic light is one antecedent to our driving behaviour. If it’s green, we go. If it’s red, we stop. Meanwhile, consequences are the events or responses that occur after a behaviour. These are either reinforcing (therefore behaviour maintains or increases over time) or they are punishing (therefore, behaviour decreases). In the traffic light example, attending to the red light and putting on the breaks results in us safely stopping in time; thus, preventing any harm or accident. For the most part, going through repeated experiences of the same A-B-C chain results in us learning and maintaining our skills.
Imagine all the A-B-C chains you go through on any given day. Now imagine your role as part of someone else’s A-B-C chain (i.e. something you said or did is the antecedent or consequence of someone else’s behaviour). If you’re not overwhelmed already, next imagine all the different people in your life and the lives of others fulfilling the same antecedents/consequences but under different circumstances or in different environments. The combinations of A-B-C chains seems almost endless. The Count can’t even keep up!
With so many varied and possible A-B-C chains, it explains how we as humans are unique: each with our own set of behaviours, skills, talents, interests and yes, even challenges. We all have our own unique learning history that sets us and our behaviour apart from others. Human behaviour is unique. We are not all robots, nor does behaviourist theory attempt to make a person into one. Unfortunately, this is an ever-returning criticism of behaviourism: that it ignores individual uniqueness. I did fairly well in my finite mathematics course in high school and so I’m certain that the rate at which someone will find their perfect behavioural match is an unthinkable number.
Perhaps The Count will let us know when he gets to that magic number 1 in ??????