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Applied Behaviour Analysis: Observing Real-Life Examples of ABA in Action

Reflection Assignment Overview

Rationale: An effective way to learn the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis is to identify and describe “everyday” scenarios that demonstrate “ABA in Action”. This individual reflection assignment provides students the opportunity to observe real life or fictional interactions and describe how behaviour analysis is involved. Your reflections can relate to your life, the lives of those around you, as well as fictionalized or media portrayals of others. Reflections can discuss a situation involving;
• Yourself
• A friend or family member
• A celebrity
• A character in a movie or television series (reality or fiction)
There are 5 journal reflections. Based on each lecture, you may choose to observe the discussed principles/theories/concepts in your everyday life. The following are some suggestions for reflections, you are welcome to come up with your own as well:
1) Reflect on the philosophical attitudes of behaviour analysis: determinism, empiricism, replication, experimentation, parsimony, and philosophic doubt. Describe each attitude and give one example of how it can be employed in every- day life. For example: how can philosophic doubt (constant questioning of the truth) be applied to everyday life?
2) Psychology was dominated by mentalistic approaches prior to behaviourism. Compare and contrast two different perspective on behaviour. You can choose from mentalism, radical behaviourism, methodological behaviourism, and structuralism. How is behaviour, including thoughts and feelings, viewed by each perspective? How might this perspective be limited?
3) Behaviour analysts look at behaviour in objective, operationalized terms. Describe an example of how this course has taught you to look at your own or someone else’ behaviour differently (e.g., from “he is lazy” to “he does not complete assignments on time or at all”). How has this new way to talk about behaviour changed how you think about the person? Their behaviour? What you might do to change the behaviour?
4) Reinforcement is one of the most important concepts you will learn in this course. Describe 3 examples of positive and negative reinforcement that you have observed in your own or others’ lives. When is the effect of positive and negative reinforcement most and least likely to impact your behaviour? (Think about motivating operations.) 
5) Reinforcement often accidentally increases problematic or dysfunctional behaviours. Describe two examples where you or someone else may have inadvertently reinforced a problematic behaviour. What happened? How did the situation play out? How could this situation have been handled differently?

6) Behaviours are often both punished and reinforced (e.g., staying up all night with your friends is immediately reinforced by the enjoyable experiences you share with them, then punished the next day by how tired you feel). Whether the behaviour increases, or decreases is dependent on whether the reinforcement or the punishment is more powerful to the person. Describe an example of abehaviour which is both punished and reinforced. How did the conflicting consequences affect the behaviour?
7) Looking at reinforcement helps us to understand our own and others’ motivations. Describe a behaviour that you did not understand until you looked at the reinforcement that must be maintaining it. How did you figure out what was reinforcing the behaviour? Why is this reinforcement effective in maintaining or increasing the behaviour
8) Try implementing reinforcement in order to influence someone’s behaviour. What happened? What did you notice? How did it work out?
9) Reflect on how the three-term contingency appears in your life. Provide 3 examples of the contingency. Identify the stimulus-response-stimulus (ABC) for each scenario.
10) Think about the rules that may govern yours or someone else’s behaviour in certain environments. Explain the rule according to behaviour principles. What may be maintaining this rule?
11) Think about a time when punishment effectively changed yours or someone else’s behaviour. What happened? How was punishment used? Explain the principles that were likely in effect to alter the behaviour. 

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