All I can say is that I am glad this man lacked his usual means (i.e., the discriminative stimulus) to do such a thing.
Another case example for gun control.
All I can say is that I am glad this man lacked his usual means (i.e., the discriminative stimulus) to do such a thing.
Another case example for gun control.
….roll in behaviour analysis!
A colleague of mine posted this on Facebook earlier today. Sure, this is one way to contrive a motivating operation (MO) and set up the environment to directly deliver the conditioned reinforcer (in this case, money) upon completion of the desired behaviour.
Does this mean we should do this for all teens? No
Does this mean behaviour analysts just have to hide money in all sorts of places and tell people to get at it? No
Isn’t this mom manipulating the situation for her own gain? Maybe. Manipulation is a loaded word. Perhaps this mother has asked her child many times to clean their room and has had no response. The reinforcement of her approval cannot complete with whatever else is maintaining a messy room and she’s trying a different approach.
But come on Tricia, this young person should want to clean his room because she/he wants it that way. Doesn’t this ruin the person’s intrinsic motivation? Not sure there is intrinsic motivation to ruin in this situation. There are just some things that people do not like doing (but should get done). Sometimes people make contact with the natural consequence (e.g., my room is clean, feels great to have a clean room) and other times we do things because it gets us access to other tangibles (e.g., money) Nothing wrong with that.
As a teenager, I might have needed this incentive to clean my room. As an adult, I eventually learned the value of having a clean room, but only when the right conditions present themselves - I’m sick of the mess, there are people coming over, or I need clean clothes to wear. These are also sources of MO which make having a clean room (or clean clothes) more valuable.
But really, how socially significant is a clean room anyway?
Another antecedent cue - this one reminding Eric to buy razors before his last one goes dull. This is an example of a transitive conditioned motivating operation (CMO-T). Eric is now in need of razors and will go on-line and order them. The four-term contingency looks something like this:
Motivating operation: Reminder sign at the bottom of the razor case
Discriminative stimulus: computer/website where Eric orders his razors from
Behaviour: Eric orders razors on-line
Consequence: Eric is given notice that his order has been processed and his razors will be arriving shortly (positive reinforcement)
Many product manufacturers have adopted this form of environmental control cuing its consumers to purchase more of an item. What examples have you noticed?
I had a tough time getting up this morning. All I wanted to do was stay in bed despite the agenda on our “to-do” list (e.g., go to the gym, grocery shop). Eric was up and rearing to go but his enthusiasm was no match to mine. I jokingly said to him, “You are going to have to create some antecedent events to get me out of this bed.”
Next thing I know, he’s removed the duvet from the bed and is opening our bedroom window. It is a chilly, breezy morning and I hate the cold. That’s enough motivation to get me up.
I am out of bed. Window closes. Eric wins.
And so starts the rest of my day.
Motivating operation: I see the brake lights of the car ahead of me come on.
Discriminative stimulus: Brake pedal in my car.
Behaviour: I lift my foot off of the gas pedal and step onto the brake pedal.
Consequence: I slow down and stop in time enough to avoid hitting the car ahead of me (negative reinforcement)I have not done a four-term contingency in a while but this one came to me while sitting in traffic yesterday. It can be difficult to separate the motivating operation (MO) from the discriminative stimulus (SD), but I think this example highlights quite nicely the 'availability of reinforcement' factor that defines the SD versus the 'need for reinforcement' factor which defines MO. While driving, we have available to us the break pedal for slowing down or stopping our vehicle. But is is not used all the time. We have learned that pressing the brake pedal is a reliable means of avoiding something or someone, keeping you and others safe. There are any number of situations that suddenly require us to behave in a way that will avoid hitting objects or people. These additional environmental changes such as the car's brake lights or a child running out into the road are what establishes the need for reinforcement - in this case avoidance of hitting the car ahead or another person. In summary (or in other words), we always have available to us the potential to brake; however, only do so when there is a need for it.
I did not sleep well last night so sleep is the most valuable reinforcer for me today. MO is in full effect. Never mind reinforcement from TV, video games or writing a half decent post - tonight, sleep wins.
Last.fm recently published some interesting data on people’s music listening during 2011 (click on the title above to view the pretty graphs). You might notice that some artists’ music was listened to more frequently during some months than others. Anytime there is an increase in behaviour - in this case, listening to songs of a particular artist - it suggests that reinforcement is occurring. People’s listening of songs by an artist are being reinforced - likely because the songs are enjoyable. I found it interesting that the increase in listening to a particular artist was preceded by a significant news event involving that artist. Note especially the increase in listening to Amy Winehouse, DJ Mehdi and Heavy D shortly after their deaths.
Any condition that happens before a behaviour is referred to as an antecedent. Antecedents can consist of both task cues (SD) and motivating operations (MO). Task cues (often referred to as discriminative stimulus, or the SD) are the means from which you perform a behaviour - so for example, the Amy Winehouse CD or your iPod with Heavy D tracks that allows you to listen to their music. Assuming however that the means to listening to these artists was available, why the sudden increase following a news story? I see the news event acting as a motivating operation (MO). MOs are the conditions that make you want/need the reinforcer more than before. Reading about Amy Winehouse’s death created a condition where you became more aware of a potential source of reinforcement (assuming you like her songs). Your attention to the task cues increases and if the quality of her songs reinforced your listening before, you are likely to listen again.
Berger, Sorensen and Rasmussen (2010) also argued that publicity (whether positive or negative) may increase product awareness and accessibility. The news of a famous musician dying is not an isolated fact you hear of once; rather it is played out in the news over and over again. Everybody and their aunt is talking about it. This constant mentioning and discussion of the musician can nudge you towards listening to them like you had before. It may even attract new listeners by offering that motivation to finally hear what is so good about this person’s music. If you weren’t aware of them before, you certainly can be after their tragic death.
In the end, it may not matter what the actual news is saying about the person, but how that news functions for others. In applied behaviour analysis there is less value placed on the WHAT (e.g., it’s positive or negative) and more with the WHY and HOW it works. The news of a musician’s death, as negative and upsetting as it is, works at bringing greater awareness of their music which increases people’s listening of their songs.
Berger, J., Sorensen, A.T. & Rasmussen, S.J. (2010). Positive effects of negative publicity: When negative reviews increase sales. Marketing Science, 29(5), 815-827.
Motivating operations are discussed here: http://behaviouristatplay.tumblr.com/post/11397926191/can-you-give-some-practical-examples-of-umos-cmo
Weather conditions = MO: http://behaviouristatplay.tumblr.com/post/4747260030/oh-the-weather-outside-is-motivating
More negative publicity here: http://behaviouristatplay.tumblr.com/post/4234290535/celebrity-bad-behaviour *and as a side note, I do seem to recall that Charlie Sheen’s shows were sold out following this public fiasco.
I haven’t yet discussed all the motivating operations (MOs) on this blog, so now, in response to your question is as good a time as any. I always have to go back to the ‘White book’ for examples of these and I’ll try to post similar or more personal examples.
As a review, MOs are fourth contingency to a behaviour. They are the conditions that make us want the reinforcer even more (i.e., motivation). There are times when the cue or means (i.e., discriminative stimulus) to behave are present, but we don’t act on them because the usual reinforcer is not needed/wanted. I often use toileting as an example:
Motivating operation: Bladder is full, discomfort
Discriminative stimulus: toilet nearby
Behaviour: use the toilet
Consequence: Bladder is empty, return to a comfortable state (negative reinforcement).
We are in the presence of toilets many times in our day, but we don’t go using every one we see. We only use the toilet when relief (the reinforcer) is needed. Therefore, the MO condition for using the toilet is that we require a full bladder.
The discomfort of a full bladder is one example of a unconditioned motivating operation (UMO). UMOs are the biological conditions inherent in all humans that motivate our behaviour for survival purposes. They also include pain, hunger, thirst, sleep, oxygen, temperature, boredom and sex. If you are deprived of food, water, sleep, oxygen, sex, activity or need heat or cold, you are more likely to engage in behaviours that offer you these things as reinforcers.
MOs can also be learned or conditioned based on our past experiences. These are referred to as conditioned motivating operations (CMO) of which there are a few types:
1) Surrogate CMO (CMO-S) occurs when a neutral stimuli is paired with one of the UMOs. Later, this stimuli takes on the same behaviour altering effects as the UMO when the UMO is not present. According to Cooper et al., (2007) the evidence for this effect is not strong, as it would seem disadvantageous to humans to act as though survival is being threatened when it is not. I suppose my best example would be when an object or condition that has been associated with pain in the past is present (alone) and motivates the person to seek out a remedy. Perhaps this is the learning behind psychosomatic symptoms?
2) Reflexive CMO (CMO-R) are those conditions or items that precede an aversive event; thus making escape or avoidance highly reinforcing. They signal to us that bad things could or are about to happen. The example I often use is the “punishing” teacher, boss or other adult in charge. In the presence of this person you “can’t seem to do anything right” and are constantly punished. Because of this, you want to spend less time with this person. Soon the environment(s) associated with this person seem to take on these aversive qualities and you avoid going anywhere near where this person might be. Even hearing their voice down the hallway may signal you to take an early lunch and avoid running into them (and therefore avoid possible punishment).
CMO-Rs explains me taking a different route to work if my previous route was associated with delays and a frustrating driving experience. This is also why I ask what the relationship is like between students and their teachers, parents etc. and their history with reinforcement vs. punishment. Because if the MO for escape/avoidance is high we have to undo that learning/association.
3) Transitive CMOs (CMO-T) are conditions or stimulus that make us want/need another stimulus. The best example of CMO-T are the conditions we find ourselves in when we ask for help or engage in problem solving behaviours. Michael (1982) used the example of the electrician and his apprentice working away. The electrician goes to use a screwdriver but it does not fit. He then asks his apprentice for another screwdriver. The condition of the screwdriver not fitting is the CMO-T which makes getting one that does fit more reinforcing. The behaviour of asking for another screwdriver is thus demonstrated and the apprentice reinforces that behaviour by delivering a screwdriver that works. The electrician only asked for the screwdriver when the condition called for it even though he had the means to ask (i.e., someone present to ask for help) throughout the day.
I have often wondered if advertising works on the principle of CMO-T. Coupons and sales offering us better deals can certainly convince or motivate us into needing or wanting the product being marketed. I do this all the time when I’m grocery shopping. In many cases, had it not been for a deal on the name brand items, I probably would have chosen the generic brand.
Many of the MO conditions have to also be considered in order for punishment to be effective. If you’re threatening to take something away from me if I engage in a certain behaviour, you better be sure that I am deprived of that thing otherwise, I might not care (and thus, not really punishment). For example, loss of computer and TV privileges is a common disciplinary action. This will only work as punishment if in fact the person has had very little TV or computer time to begin with. If they have been watching TV or playing on the computer all day, your taking away of these things in the evening because they left their dishes downstairs may have very little effect on these behaviours tomorrow and the next day.
Not considering the MO for either a reinforcer or a punisher is often, in my opinion, to blame for many failed discipline or reward-based behaviour management approaches. People have to want or care about what you’re giving and/or taking away from them if you hope to have any effect on the behaviour(s) you are targeting.
Okay…think I have brushed up on my MOs for the next little while. This was a lengthy post/answer to your question but I believe an explanation plus examples are necessary for understanding these behaviour principles. What is most important to know is when/how MOs are present and how they alter the value of a consequence and the frequency of a behaviour vs. which type of MO/CMO it is.
Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2007). Applied behaviour analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Michael, J. (1982). Distinguishing between discriminative and motivational functions of stimuli. Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, 149-155.
What examples do you have?
Motivating operation: The garbage stinks.
Antecedent: Proximity to garbage can in the kitchen.
Behaviour: Tie up garbage bag and remove from kitchen.
Consequence: Escape the stink (negative reinforcement).Another four-term contingency to highlight the role of motivating operations in the occurrence (and non-occurrence) of "everyday" behaviours. Taking the garbage out might be an everyday occurrence depending on how bothered one is by the stink their garbage emits. In my case, it takes a few days before my nose recognizes the smell. Only then does escaping from the actual garbage seem reinforcing. Otherwise, there are plenty of other times I walk by the garbage and don't do anything about it. That however, might be motivated more by avoidance!
Motivating Operation: I am tired
Antecedent: Sitting on the couch, I see pillow beside me
Behaviour: Lay down on the couch, rest my head on the pillow and have a nap
Consequence: I get some sleep; no longer tired.Did you notice I added a fourth contingency to today's post? Motivating operations (MOs) alter the value of the potential reinforcer and effect the current frequency of the behaviour. There are many other times when I sit on the couch, notice the pillow beside me but don't lay down; presumably, because I am not tired. In this example however, I was tired. The value of sleep was higher and therefore, laying down behaviour in the presence of the couch and pillow occurred and was reinforced. Technically, all operant behaviours have these four contingencies at play, but we often do not have enough information to know about possible MO conditions. MO is important to consider when asking ourselves, "Why doesn't person A do behaviour X this time, even though it is the exact same conditions as before?" The environment may be the same, but the person's recent history with a potential reinforcer may have changed whether or not they even want/need the reward the environment/person is prepared to offer. Some food for thought (but only if you're hungry).