Under the overpass? Waiting for people to whiz by doing more than 120 km/hour? I did. And what did that signal? That punishment is ready and available if I don’t slow down. So I decreased my speed.
Cop cars hiding out in obscure places: being an effective S^DP since before you read about behaviourism.
Is she smelling her food? Because I smell my food too.
It is always interesting when I start working or hanging out with new people and they notice this quirk about me. It is a behaviour I have done most of my life. So much so, I don’t even notice until someone has caught me and has a look of wonder on their face.
What is she doing?
I am sensitive to varying tastes in my food and anything that smells the slightest bit off is banned from going in my mouth. You cannot convince me the food is safe. Here’s what I’ve learned: if the food item smells acceptable, then that serves as the go-ahead for me to eat. It is the signal that reinforcement in the form of “good taste” is likely. On the other hand, if the food smells kinda funky, I don’t eat it. Here, it signals that punishment in the form of bad taste (or worse) is likely.
Smelling my food is a survival behaviour that has been finely tuned and reinforced over the years. No offence intended to the many wonderful cooks in my life!
Eric and I ventured out late yesterday evening for our inaugural training in running. Our goal is to be able to run 5K. We are following a program that will shape our running and endurance to run a 5K.
We made it one block before it started to rain. We looked at each other as if to say, “Keep going?” and we did. And then it started to pour - sheets of rain, pouring. I think neither one of us wanted to give up so early on our first attempt but we were soaked. Water ran faster between our legs than we could move them.
We did not run very far. The rain won this race. I hope the loss does not function as punishment to stop us entirely.
I know skinny jeans are fashionable and make for some great outfits. Paired with boots and a baggy top and one can look pretty good. Despite the trend however, I have avoided trying any on. Convinced by years of repeated attempts to find jeans that fit and flatter my body shape I believed there is no way a skinny jean will fit.
But you don’t know for sure until you try some on.
Here’s the data on my attempts: 0 out of 2. I know I should probably go for a third data point but the entire experience was punishing enough that I will not be doing that again.
My legs are not built for skinny jeans and that is okay.
As a behaviour analyst (in training) I have learned to be more mindful of my words. What we say is one thing; how those words function or are interpreted are another. I choose my words wisely to mean what I say and say I what I mean. So when I hear someone say to a another person with limited verbal repertoire, “Use your words”, I cannot help but imagine (then laugh) at the idea of that person one day saying, “Fuck off!”. I suspect that will be frowned upon; yet, the person did use their words like they were told. You cannot punish them for that.
Let’s abolish, “Use your words.” People have heard it too many times that it has no meaning anymore. If one could not retrieve the words to say something in the first place, it’s not going to come as a result of the line, “Use your words.”
What words am I supposed to use?
“I think what you’re trying to tell me is, …” If the interpretation of the situation calls for a word or phrase, then model the words that are meant to be said. Model the language (either verbal or non-verbal) that can get their needs met.
Toronto city council is considering going back on a measure to reduce the use of plastic bags by consumers. The previous council instilled a response cost where consumers were expected to fork over five cents for each plastic bag they used to pack away their groceries or other purchased goods. A response cost is a form of punishment where the person is “fined” for engaging in a certain behaviour and that behaviour decreases. It is the premise behind speeding tickets or losing points in a game for making a “bad” move. In this case, plastic bag use is the behaviour targeted to decrease. Seen as an eco-friendly move on the part of previous council, many people are criticizing the current council for considering removing the bag fee. My question before evaluating whether or not the fee should stay or go: did it work?
If the goal was to decrease the use of plastic bags, was the five cent charge enough to decrease bag usage? Was data taken before and after the costs were put into effect? And if so, does it support the continuation of charging consumers for their plastic bags (i.e., plastic bag use has gone down)?
Whenever a method with intent to change people’s behaviours is put into place, some measure of behaviour is necessary to evaluate its effectiveness. In other words: show me the data (behaviour analysts love saying this)! What should TO council do? Put public opinion aside ever so slightly and look for a real measure of success. If the bag fee did little to curb others from requesting bags from the cashier then we need to look for other methods to change people’s behaviour e.g., reinforcement in the form of discounted prices for bringing in your own cloth bags.
Data is our friend. It does not lie. It cannot argue. It is what you see or hear and from it, decisions based on evidence can be made. Even a decision as simple as bringing an extra nickel or two on your next shopping trip.