I need help with a Psychology question. All explanations and answers will be used to help me learn.
Answer each set of questions below. Please number your answers to correspond to each numbered question set below, and please write complete sentences. Your responses will be graded for quality and thoroughness in response to each question (at least 2 sentences per question) and communicating clearly that you understand the learning principles in these questions. Revisit M 4.3 readings and videos, as well as your notes and slides to help you work on this.
The Present Situation: Identifying learning principles in your current behavior
- The “problem” behavior: Briefly but clearly describe the current behavior you plan to change. Describe your current behavior, in detail, as it typically occurs lately; What time of day? How often? With whom? How do you feel when doing it? It may be a good idea to do some self-observation for a day or two, taking notes about the circumstances that surround the behavior you want to change to prepare you to answer this question. What does the current behavior look like in your daily life?
- The conditioned stimuli: Based on your answer to question 1, identify the stimuli in your environment that have become associated with the problem behavior you wish to change (associative learning; classical conditioning). These are situations or other behaviors that come before or at the same time as the problem behavior, and may implicitly “trigger” you to do the problem behavior. For example, a person who wants to quit smoking might notice that they typically smoke while drinking coffee; coffee-drinking has become a conditioned stimuli for the desire to smoke. They might also notice that they smoke whenever they get in their car, and so now the car has become a conditioned stimuli for smoking (perhaps implicitly). If they want to quit smoking, they may need to change their relationship with coffee, and perhaps change something about the interior of the car or their habits when they get in the car to help break this learned association. What are the conditioned stimuli that you are noticing may be associated with the problem behavior?
- The reinforcers: Identify the reinforcers that are keeping the problem behavior going (associative learning; instrumental or operant conditioning). Be thorough and honest with yourself when trying to identify what rewards (positive reinforcement) or unpleasant things you get to avoid or reduce (negative reinforcement) by engaging in the problem behavior. For example, a person who wants to quit smoking may recognize that this problem behavior is negatively reinforced because it temporarily decreases tension; it may be positively reinforced if the person experiences added enjoyment talking with friends while smoking. Identify the various reinforcements (positive and negative) that are currently keeping the problem behavior going for you.
Creating Your Plan for Change
- The new behavior is the goal behavior change, or the habit you want to develop to replace the old, problem behavior. Remember, one cannot merely stop doing something; something different is happening in the old behavior’s place. If your plan is to “just stop” doing the problem behavior, the change is not as likely to last. For example, someone stopping overeating will not stop eating entirely as a healthy new behavior; he or she will eat differently perhaps by portioning meals smaller on the plate (new behavior) or changing from eating several times per day to three times per day on a schedule (new behavior). Describe the new behavior that will replace the old, and remember to choose a new behavior that is S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Limited). What will you do instead of the problem behavior?
- Conditioning new stimuli: Objects or events you plan to associate with the new behavior to help it become established. For example, someone trying to quit drinking caffeine in the afternoon may set a timer for 2:00pm to remind her/him to fill up their water bottle and take a brisk walk (associating afternoons with new behaviors that will help reduce afternoon fatigue in place of coffee). What new conditioned stimuli will you train yourself to associate with the new behavior, and how?
- The reinforcements for the new behavior: These need to be both immediate and long range. Plan specific, positive reinforcements and set specific times when they will be received. For example, someone trying to quit smoking may reward him/herself at the end of each day that they successfully chewed gum or called a friend instead of smoking by eating one small piece of candy (positive reinforcement). At the end of one month with no cigarettes, she/he might purchase something equivalent to the value of the cigarettes they did not buy. How will you be rewarded for the new behavior?
- Integrating Biological, Cognitive, or Developmental factors: So far we have discussed some of the biological, cognitive, and developmental factors that shape human psychology. Identify and describe at least one biological, cognitive, or developmental key term from Modules 2, 3, or 4 that may impact (support or hinder) your success in changing the new behavior.
- Road Blocks: With any behavioral change there are likely to be obstacles that have the potential to interfere with success, but these obstacles will be easier to overcome if you prepare for them ahead of time. For example, someone who wants to get more sleep, but tends to stay up very late with their roommate may plan to tell his roommate that he is working on this change and ask for their support. What are some potential obstacles (which could come from answer 7), and how do you plan to overcome them?