Behavior modification techniques are ways in which a desired behavior is incorporated. With this article, get to know about the strategies that can be used for modifying behavior.

Behavior Modification Techniques

Behavior is the way a person reacts to a particular stimulus and varies from individual to individual. Behavior modification technique is the way you improve the behavior of a person through the use of some positive and negative reinforcements and punishments. It is the process of altering a person’s reaction to stimuli. Behavior modification is much used in clinical and educational psychology, particularly in case of people with learning difficulties. In the day to day life, it is mostly used in the classroom scenario, where the teachers use such techniques to reform the behavior of a child. Behavior follows a set of regular rules. There are several methods to define, observe and measure a particular behavior. If behavior needs modification, certain techniques need to be applied. Psychologists believe that these techniques for behavior modification never fail, unless they are applied inefficiently or inconsistently. There can be certain limitations when the subject is a victim of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression. But, studies have shown that the successful treatment of these disorders can be carried out through appropriate behavior modification techniques. Read on to know more about techniques used for modifying behavior.
Techniques for Modifying Behavior
Stages Of Behavior Modification
Behavior modification is based on two types of theories. One involves antecedents i.e. events which occur before a particular behavior is demonstrated. The other is observable behavior i.e. those events that occur after a particular behavior has occurred. A behavior modification technique is applicable only after a series of changes. An inappropriate behavior is observed, identified, targeted, and stopped. Meanwhile, a new, appropriate behavior must be identified, developed, strengthened, and maintained.
Behavior Modification Techniques
  • Classroom Monitoring: The inclusions of effective teaching practices, frequent monitoring, strict rules and regulations, social appraisal, etc. are ways of preventing undesired behavior.
  • Pro-social Behavior: Encouraging modeling of pro-social behavior and giving verbal instruction helps the child build proper behavior. The instructor may show in action which may inspire the child to do the same, thereby instilling positive behavior.
  • Moral Education: Moral Science classes on real-life situations, imaginary situations and literature help the students build a positive set of behavior. Here, the students are made to play different roles as a teacher, principal, parents, etc. and participate in school administration to make them responsible ethically.
  • Social Problem Solving (SPS): Direct teaching of SPS skills (e.g. alternative thinking, means-ends thinking), seeks to improve the problem solving ability of children on a daily basis.
  • Effective Communication Models: This comprises the values of detailed information, active listening, importance of communication and interpersonal skills, training for students and teachers.
  • Reinforcement: This includes direct instruction and various reinforcement techniques. A positive reinforcement technique rewards the subject (both children and adults), to promote positive behaviors. On the other hand, negative reinforcement removes something unpleasant when the good behavior is exhibited. For e.g. a child is allowed to come out from his/her room on the occasion of desired/good behavior. A continuous reinforcement is induced when trying to teach someone a new behavior that has never been exhibited and every time the behavior is exhibited the person is immediately rewarded.
  • Decreasing Reinforcement: This is to encourage a child/adult to continue performing in an established behavior with few or no rewards. However, this process can take longer time than the continuous reinforcement technique as, there is less or no rewards involved.
  • Variable Reinforcement: This is again to encourage appropriate behavior with intermittent rewards.
  • Satiation: This is one way to discourage someone’s inappropriate manner of behavior. The person is allowed to continue or is insisted to continue the undesired act to a certain point until he is tired or bored of it. This leads to the discontinuation of the act.
  • The Principle of Extinction: To stop someone from acting in a particular manner, you may arrange conditions, wherein, the person does not receive any rewards. The withdrawal of rewards leads to the withdrawal of the behavior.
  • Incongruous Alternative Principle: In order to get rid of a behavior or act, you may reward the subject with an alternative action which cannot go hand in hand with the regular act. This is like presenting a better option but incompatible to the ongoing deed. So, the subject is more likely to choose the new act over the other.
  • Fear Reduction: In this technique the person is assisted to overcome his fear of a particular situation. The gradual exposure to an act, which an individual fears the most, while s/he is in a relaxed or comfortable position, reduces the fear.
  • Cueing Model:  In this technique, the child or person concerned is taught to remember to act at a specific time. This is done by giving a clue for a correct behavior, before the action. This is like a reminder of appropriate behavior which needs to be carried out prior to the action, in order to avoid an improper behavior.
  • Punishment: When used cautiously, punishment can produce strong outcomes. It does not mean physical punishment, but rather on a more mental plane. To remove or deprive the person of his or her pleasurable items or activities when a negative behavior is engaged is one method of punishment. For instance, the dispossession of a video game is an effective punishment for children.
Mentioned above are some of the most effective techniques of modifying one’s behavior. Read and use the techniques properly to get the desired result.

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