Psychology Behavior chain



Value- Altering
Behavior-Altering (evocative)


Behavior-Altering (abative)

In addition to frequency, other aspects of behavior change can results from a change in an MO.


Behavior vs. repertoire altering effects

*Antecedent Variables => Current Responding =>Behavior Altering
*Consequence Variables =>Future Responding =>Repertoire Altering

Mos & SDs – Similarities

Are antecedent variablesHave behavior-altering effectsAre operant

Mos & SDs – difference

SDsRelated to the differential availability of an effective reinforcer


Related to the differential reinforcing effectiveness of a particular type of environmental event

Unconditioned motivating operations – UMOs (9)

Food deprivationWater deprivationSleep deprivationActivity deprivationOxygen deprivationSex deprivationBecoming too warmBecoming too coldIncrease in painful stimulation

Is it possible to permanently weaken the value altering effects of UMOs?


UMO for punishment

An environmental variable that alters thepunishing effectiveness of some stimulus/object/event,AND alters thefrequency of the behavior that has been punished

In general, observing a punishment effect is more complex than observing a reinforcement effect because…

One must also consider the status of the variable responsible for the occurrence of the punished behavior.

Conditioned motivating operations (CMOs)

Motivating variables that alter the reinforcing effectiveness of other stimuli, objects, or events, but only a result of the organism’s learning history

Types of CMOs

Surrogate CMO-S Reflexive CMO-R Transitive CMO-T

Stimulus control occurs when…

The rate, latency, duration, or amplitude of a response is altered in the presence of an antecedent stimulus

A stimulus acquires control only when…

Responses emitted in the presence of that stimulus produce reinforcement more often than responses in the absence of that stimulus.

Antecedent variable


Signals availability of reinforcement


Affects what functions as a reinforcer


Assumes the consequence is a reinforcer


Alters current frequency of behavior


When an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in its presence, there is a general tendency for similar stimuli to also evoke that response.

Stimulus Generalization

Stimulus generalization gradient

Graphical depictions of the degree of stimulus generalization and discrimination.Shows extent to which responses reinforced by one stimulus condition are emitted in the presence of untrained stimuli.

Stimulus discrimination training requires…

• One behavior• Two antecedent stimulus conditions• SD• SΔ

Concept formation- What it’s not:

A cognitive process.

Concept formation- What it is:

A complex example of stimulus control that requires…Stimulus generalization within a class of stimuli ANDDiscrimination between classes of stimuli.

Stimulus class

Feature stimulus classArbitrary stimulus class

Behavior analysts have developed arbitrary stimulus classes by using…

Matching-to-Sample procedures

Stimulus equivalence

Emergency of accurate responding to untrained and unreinforced stimulus-stimulus relations following the reinforcement of responses to some stimulus-stimulus relations.

3 Behavioral tests



refers to the reversibility of a relation (if AB, then BA)


refers to the transfer of the relation to new combinations through shared membership (if AB and BC, then AC)


refers to the matching of a sample to itself, sometimes called identity matching (AA, BB, CC)

Matching to sample – 4 steps

1. Participant makes a response (observing response)2. Sample stimulus (conditional stimulus) is presented3. Comparison stimuli (discriminative events) are presented4. A response that selects the matched comparison and rejects non-match comparisons will produce reinforcement

Three factors affecting development of stimulus control

Pre-attending SkillsStimulus SalienceMasking and Overshadowing

Supplementary antecedent stimuli used to occasion a correct response in the presence of an SD that will eventually control the behavior are called ….


Two types of prompts to develop stimulus control


4 procedures for transferring stimulus control from response prompts to naturally existing stimuli

Least-to-MostMost-to-LeastGraduated GuidanceTime Delay (constant vs. progressive)

Process of systematically and differentially reinforcing successive approximations to a terminal behavior is called…


The end product of shaping

Terminal Behavior

Two behavioral principles involved in shaping…


Response differentiation

Results when differential reinforcement is applied consistently within a response classA new response class composed primarily of response sharing the characteristic of the previously reinforced subclass emerges.

Successive approximations aka…

Intermediate behaviors

What dimensions of behavior can be shaped?


Within response topographies

-topography of behavior remains constant-another measurable dimension of behavior is changed (duration of the behavior)

Shaping within a response topography

Saying the word “bubble”-Step 1= reinforce “b”- Step 2= reinforce “bubb”

Across response topographies

-topography of behavior changes during shaping-behaviors are still members of the same response class

Shaping across topographies

Teach dog to fetch soda from fridge-Step 1= touch kitchen towel with nose- Step 2 = touch kitchen towel with mouth-Step 3 = pick up kitchen towel with mouth

Positive aspects of shaping

Teaches a new behaviorPositive approachCan be combined with other behavior change procedures

Limitations of shaping

Time consumingProgress is not always linearRequires consistent monitoring of the learner to detect subtle indications that the next approximation has been performedShaping can be misappliedHarmful behaviors can be shaped

Change behavior

Stimulus Fading & Shaping

Antecedent stimulus stays the same


Response progressively changes


Response stays the same

Stimulus Fading

Antecedent stimulus progressively changes

Stimulus Fading


Use prompts (physical guidance, verbal prompts)


Reinforcement is paired with the sound of the clicker so that the sound becomes a conditioned reinforcer.


Select the terminal behaviorDetermine the criterion for successAnalyze the response classIdentify the first behavior to reinforceEliminate interfering or extraneous stimuliProceed in gradual stagesLimit the number of approximations at each levelContinue to reinforce when the terminal behavior is achieved


Specific sequence of discrete responses, each associated with a particular stimulus condition.


Breaking a complex skill into smaller, teachable units


Observe competent individuals perform the desired sequence of behaviorsConsult with experts or persons skilled in performing the taskPerform the behavior yourself

Chain with known responses

MO Sore throatSD Tea leaves in pantryResponse 1 Grab kettle from cabinetResponse 2 Pour water in kettleResponse 3 Turn on stoveResponse 4 Put kettle on burnerResponse 5 Grab pot from cabinetResponse 6 Grab tea leaves from pantryResponse 7 Put tea leaves in potResponse 8 Pour boiling water in potResponse 9 Turn off stoveResponse 10 Grab a spoon from drawerResponse 11 Stir in honeyResponse 12 Pour tea into cupSR+ Nice, warm tea

Chain with unknown responses

MO Sore throatSD Tea leaves in pantryResponse 1 Grab kettle from cabinetResponse 5 Grab pot from cabinetResponse 6 Grab tea leaves from pantryResponse 10 Grab a spoon from drawerResponse 11 Stir in honeySR+ Nice, warm tea

Breaking an inappropriate chain (sources of difficulty)

Reexamine the SD and responsesDetermine whether similar SDs cue different responsesAnalyze the natural setting to identify relevant & irrelevant SDsDetermine whether the SD in the natural setting differ from training SDsIdentify the presence of novel stimuli in the environment

Factors affecting performance of a behavior chain

Completeness of the Task AnalysisLength or Complexity of the ChainSchedule of ReinforcementStimulus VariationResponse Variation


Individuals can acquire and maintain imitative and echoic behaviors in the same fashion as they acquire and maintain other operant behavior

Imitation – 4 behavior-environment relations

ModelsFormal SimilarityImmediacyA Controlled Relation

Learning to learn

Fewer and fewer training trials are required to learn new discriminated responses.

Imitation training

Assess (and teaching) of prerequisite skillsSelecting modelsPretestingSequencing the Selected Models for TrainingPreassessmentTrainingPostassessmentProbes for Imitative Behaviors

An increase in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by some stimulus, object, or event, called an…

Evocative effect

Observing a punishment effect is __________ complex than observing a reinforcement effect.


Increases the reinforcing effectiveness of some stimulus

Establishing operation

Antecedent variables are associated with [1] altering effects, whereas consequence variables are associated with [2] altering effects.

1 behavior2 repertoire

Decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of some stimulus

Abolishing operation

A decrease in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by some stimulus, object, or event, called an…

Abative effect

MOs and SDs are both antecedent variables that alter the current frequency of some particular type of behavior.


A change in an MO can affect not only frequency, but other dimensions of behavior as well (e.g., latency, magnitude).


A(n) __________ is an environmental variable that alters the effectiveness of some stimulus, object, or event as a reinforcer, and alters the current frequency of all behavior that has been reinforced by that stimulus, object, or event.

Motivating operation

Food deprivation and water deprivation are examples of…

Unconditioned motivating operations

Stimulus control shaping procedures modify the task stimuli or materials gradually and systematically to prompt a response. [1] involved highlighting a physical dimension of a stimulus to increase the likelihood of a correct response, while [2] uses an initial stimulus shape that will prompt a correct response.

1 stimulus fading2 stimulus shape transformation

Order the following prompts from most intrusive to least intrusive.

1. Physical2. Visual3. Verbal

Matching-to-sample procedures create __________ among arbitrary stimuli.

Stimulus equivalence

Behavior analysts define stimulus equivalence by testing for [1], [2], and [3] among stimulus-stimulus relations.

1 reflexivity2 symmetry3 transitivity

In stimulus discrimination training, responses are reinforced in the presence of the __________, but responses are not reinforced in the presence of the other stimulus, the __________.

Discriminative stimulus; stimulus delta

Discriminative stimuli and establishing operations share two important similarities: (a) both events occur [1] the behavior of interest, and (b) both events have [2] functions.

1 Before2 evocative

Behavior analysts consider concept formation a mental process.


When an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in its presence, there is a general tendency for similar stimuli to also evoke that response. This tendency is called…

Stimulus generalization

Verbal instructions

Response prompt


Response prompt

Physical guidance

Response prompt


Stimulus prompt


Stimulus prompt


Stimulus prompt

Behavior that occurs more often in the presence of a discriminative stimulus (SD) than in its absence is under …

Stimulus control

Imitation training is not complete until all response prompts have been withdrawn.


Individuals acquire and maintain imitative and echoic behavior in the same fashion as they acquire and maintain other operant behaviors.


A controlling relation between the behavior of a model and the behavior of the imitator is inferred when a novel model evokes a similar behavior in the absence of a __________ for that behavior.

history of reinforcement

The __________ procedure provides data on the learner’s progress in developing an imitation repertoire.


The __________ procedure allows practitioners to evaluate how well the learner can perform previously- and recently- learned behaviors.


To be considered imitation, the behavior must occur within __________ of the presentation of the model.

3-5 seconds

Antecedent stimulus that evokes imitative behavior.


Prerequisite skills for imitation training include:

keeping hands in laplooking at the teacherlooking at objectsstaying seated

The __________ procedure allows practitioners to evaluate the learner’s current performance on the models selected for training that session, and to determine the learner’s progress in learning to response to the model.


__________ occurs when the model and the behavior physically resemble each other and are in the same sense mode.

formal similarity

Behavior can only be shaped in terms of topography.


Achievement of the terminal behavior with respect to time, trials, or direction is typically predictable, immediate, and linear.


The process of systematically and differentially reinforcing successive approximations to a terminal behavior.


Eliminating sources of distraction during shaping enhances the effectiveness of the process.


Shaping should be implemented…



is used to teach new behaviorscan be time consumingrequires consistent monitoring of the learner


The antecedent stimulus stays the same, while the response progressively becomes more differentiated.

Stimulus fading

The antecedent stimulus changes gradually, while the response stays essentially the same.

__________ are often used to increase the efficiency of shaping.


Shaping a behavior within a response topography means that the __________ of the behavior remains constant.


The end product of shaping is called the __________ behavior.


Factors affecting the performance of a behavior chain include: (a) completeness of the [1], (b) length or [2] of the chain, (c) schedule of [3], (d) [4] variation, and (e) response [5].

1 task analysis2 complexity3 reinforcement4 stimulus5 variation

With this method, behaviors identified in the task analysis are taught in their naturally occurring order. Reinforcement is delivered when the predetermined criterion for the first behavior in the sequence is achieved. Thereafter, reinforcement is delivered for criterion completion of Steps 1 and 2. Each succeeding step requires the cumulative performance of all previous steps in the correct order.

Forward chaining

The assumption underlying Behavior Chain Interruption Strategy is that “persistence in task completion and emotional response to the interruption would serve as operational definitions of __________” (Goetz et al., 1985, p.23).

high motivation for task completion

With this method, all of the behaviors identified in the task analysis are initially completed by the trainer, except for the final behavior in the chain. When the learner performs the final behavior in the sequence at the predetermined criterion level, reinforcement is delivered. Next, reinforcement is delivered when the last and the next-to-last behaviors in the sequence are performed to criterion, and so forth…

Backward chaining

Each stimulus that links two response components together serves a dual function: It is both a(n) [1] for the response that preceded it and a(n) [2] for the response that follows it.

1 conditioned reinforcer2 discriminative stimulus

Involves breaking a complex skill into smaller, teachable units, the product of which is a series of sequentially ordered steps or tasks.

Task analysis

With this method, the learner receives training on each step in the task analysis during every session. Trainer assistance is provided with any step the person is unable to perform independently, and the chain is trained until the learner is able to perform all the behaviors in the sequence to the predetermined criterion.

Total task presentationTotal task chainingWhole task presentation

Research has shown total task chaining to be consistently more effective than both forward chaining and backward chaining for teaching behavior chains.


The purpose of assessing __________ is to determine which components of the task analysis can already be performed independently. Assessment can be conducted with the single-opportunity or multiple-opportunity method.

Mastery levels

A specified sequence of discrete responses, each associated with a particular stimulus condition.

Behavior chain

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