Behaviormodification involves assessing and modifying the currentenvironmental events that are functionally related to the behaviorthat an individual exhibits. An individual’s behavior is controlledalmost entirely by the events surrounding the immediate environment(Miltenbergeret.al, 2015).When changing my behavior, I must first identify the controllingvariables that lead to the undesired behavior and alter them tomodify my behavior. In my case, Ihave the habit of shaking my legs when I get nervous or when anxietykicks in or whenever I am under pressure.
Stepsin the Modification of my Behavior
First,I will identify the target behavior and the subsequent reinforcers.In this case the target behavior is to remaincalm whenever I am under pressure or whenever I am anxious. Anotherimportant aspect of this first step will be to help establish abaseline against which I will compare improvements in my behavior.Additionally, I will be able to determine the frequency of thebehavior and apply positive and negative consequences in thefrequency that the behavior occurs. This will help establish a clearconnection between the consequences/reinforcements and the behaviorof shaking legs.
Secondly,I will establish the baseline for the behavior. This will include aclear definition of what constitutes the undesired behavior. In thiscase, for how long should I shake my legs to meet the criteria forthe undesired behavior? Five seconds, 10 seconds or how long? Thebaseline measurements will also take into consideration the frequencywithin which I exhibit the behavior. Establishing the baseline shouldtake a number of days as I try to understand and record the patternof the behavior.
Thirdly,I will formulate reinforcers and formulate the criteria for selectingthe reinforcers. The reinforces that I can use in this situationinclude personal praises and rewards. I will use continuous schedulesto reward or punish desired and undesired behavior respectively. Ican use candy and chocolate bars as reinforcers whenever I fail toshake my legs in nervous/tense situations, for example, if I remaincalm while answering questions in class or when watching a tensefootball match, I will reward myself with candy or chocolate. I willalso give myself special privileges for example getting extra icecream on the day that I shake my legs the least. On the days that Ishake my legs a lot, I will restrain myself from having any snacksduring the day. This can be an appropriate punisher if at all thebehavior does not cease.
Lastly,I will observe my behavior and compare it to the baseline. Thisshould tell me whether there are any improvements resulting from thedesigned program. The result in this case should inform me of anymodifications that I will need to implement in my behavioral changeprogram (Miltenbergeret.al, 2015).If I observe positive changes, i.e. a reduced frequency of shaking mylegs and a demonstration of calm behavior in tense situations, I willreduce the frequency of my reinforcements. The reduction in thefrequency of reinforcements shall be gradual. Since I startedapplying the reinforcements after every incident of the desiredbehavior, I shall start applying reinforcements on every severalinstances of the desired behavior. By reducing the number of timesthat I apply reinforcements, I will help myself develop the desiredbehavior in the long run. Additionally, the desired behavior willextend to other settings beyond the usual circumstances (Miltenbergeret.al, 2015).
Miltenberger,Raymond G. Behaviormodification principles and procedures.Australia: South-Western, 2015.