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Essay Example on Behavior Analysis

3 pages
796 words
Boston College
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Case 1: The Case of Brenda

Brenda experience challenges in her favorite sport where she faces difficulty in serving. Her coach noted the problem which was associated with her accuracy and speed limiting the chances of winning matches. As a result, she directs her to a behavior analyst who recommends chaining to help her become fit and increase chances of winning. The rationale for applying behavior chaining on Brenda is the fact that she needs some behavioral units or steps which will take place in series to help her better her tennis skills.

Chaining consists of two components which are the conditioned reinforcement (secondary reinforcement) and unconditioned reinforcement (primary). Primary reinforcement transpires naturally and does not need learning while secondary reinforcement requires stimuli to implement change (Cooper, Heron &Heward, 2007). The three conventional chaining procedures entail the total-task chaining, backward chaining and the forward chaining. Forward chaining involves training where the first behavior link begins the sequence. Then, the training takes place on the previously learned steps and the contemporary step. Total-task chaining, on the other hand, incorporates training for each behavior in the sequence in every training phase. In this procedure, assistance from the trainer is required on every step to enhance performance.

Lastly, backward chaining involves a process where training is commenced with the link having the last behavior in the sequence (Pratt, 2017). In this case, the trainer dwells on the last step until when the learner understands the step. The best chaining procedure to select for Brenda is the total-task chaining which will help improve her winning chances. The chaining will help Brenda train on all the individual units from starting position to follow-through as recommended by the behavior analyst.

To ensure that Brenda masters every aspect of the behavior chain, the behavior analyst could have observed her performance when doing chaining on her own and correct her whenever she makes a mistake. In this case, the analyst can use single-opportunity and multiple-opportunity methods to assess mastery of each behavioral unit learned by Brenda. The single-opportunity method incorporates giving the cue for the commencement of a task while recording the performance of the learner in every step (Cooper, Heron &Heward, 2007). In this process, the assessment is stopped when the learner performs incorrectly in a step and a minus marked for the remaining steps. Conversely, the multiple-opportunity method involves completion of a step by the trainer if the learner performs it incorrectly where the learner proceeds to the next step.

Case 2: The Case of Mrs. Riley

The rationale for the token economy practice in Mrs. Rileys class would be to increase the likelihood of desirable behaviors in class and decrease odd behaviors (Cooper, Heron &Heward, 2007). As such, pennies would be used to motivate students towards improving their classroom behaviors.

A token economy is formed through the following six steps:

The first step is the identification of the target behaviors which are used to set aside the actions to be attached to tokens. In this stage, measures are put in place to ensure that the identification of the target behaviors is put in place. On the other hand, the second step involves coming up with tokens to be applied as reinforcers, by doing so, the reinforcers will then act as motivators of desirable behavior and hence will play an essential role in achieving the result.

The third step involves the process of identifying rein forcers which would be traded with the tokens; the identification is significant since it will hence direct the modification of behaviors (Cooper, Heron &Heward, 2007).

Additionally, the fourth step involves the development of reinforcement plan to help arranges reinforcers in an orderly manner. The fifth step involves coming up with rates for exchanging tokens for the reinforcers which helps encourage aim for higher tokens which goes with high rewards with the last step being to develop time frame and place for exchanging reinforcers and tokens which designates a specific time for giving awards.

Tokens and reinforcers help in behavior modifications from unwanted behaviors to wanted ones. Tokens are offered after a student portrays appropriate behaviors (Cooper, Heron &Heward, 2007). In this case study, pennies are the tokens which are aimed to motivate students to act as required. The pennies help modify behaviors by encouraging students to act according to the class requirement, thus, drives good performance. The reinforcers are the items traded with the pennies and include the candies, crafts, and night off homework. They are used to create innate positive qualities, hence, modifying behaviors positively.



Cooper, J.O., Heron T.E., &Heward, W.L. (2007).Applied behavior analysis. 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Pratt, C. (2017). Applied behavior analysis: the role of task analysis and chaining. Retrieved from


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