What counts as behavior modification?

One of the problems that we’ll have to address with this site is establishing what does and does not count as behavior modification. There is a general or lay-public use of the term “behavior modification” and then there is a more technical use that is closer to “behavior analysis.” I’d like this site to tilt […]

One of the problems that we’ll have to address with this site is establishing what does and does not count as behavior modification. There is a general or lay-public use of the term “behavior modification” and then there is a more technical use that is closer to “behavior analysis.” I’d like this site to tilt in the direction of the latter. Many different objects or events can modify behavior, but procedures based on behavior analytic research should be the focus of BehaviorMod.info.

The entry under “Behavior modification” in WikiPedia is not bad. As this site evolves, some participants might discuss strengths and weaknesses of that entry and, perhaps, even edit it.

How would I define behavior modification? Easy: Behavior modification is the systematic manipulation of environmental variables to cause predicted changes in people’s behavior. One may substitute “organisms” for people, of course, because the same behavior-analytic principles that describe how to affect people’s behavior also apply to other animals.

Oh, and that word, “manipulate.” Does it make some folks uneasy? Well, take it in the sense of how one handles tools (environmental variables, in this case), not in the sense of controlling in an unscrupulous way.

What’s not behavior mod, in the sense that I hope we use the term? I won’t go into the marvelous detail that I vaguely remember from an article by Israel Goldiamond (though I ought to reread it), but here are some notes:

  • Reducing behavior: Indeed, behavior modification procedures can be used to decrease the frequency of behavior, but they can also be used to increase behavior, teach new behavior, and cause many other changes, too.
  • Drugs: To be sure, pharmaceuticals can alter behavior, but as a therapy, they operate on the individual differently
  • Domination: Behavior modification procedures can be used unscrupulously to subjugate others, but they also can be used for humane outcomes, including such desirable results as enabling people to exercise self-control.
  • Etc.: Please add to this list.

Goldiamond, I. (1974). Toward a constructional approach to social problems: Ethical and constitutional issues raised by applied behavior analysis. Behaviorism, 2(1), 1-84.

Welcome mesage

Welcome to Special Education Today. Special Education Today provides the latest from special education blogs, up-to-date links to resources about special education, in-depth coverage of selected special education topics, current research information, and more. Special Education Today covers diverse disabilty categories, including Learning Disabilties, Emotional and Behaivoral Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, and Autism, as well as disorders related to or subsumed under these categories (e.g., bi-polar disorder, ADHD or attention-deficit disorder, depression, Down Syndrome, etc.). Although its primary focus is on special education during the school years, Special Education Today also provides information about disabilities during the pre-school and post-school years.

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So creative!

My little girl is so creative!
She made this creation out of pennies and different coins lying around the house all by herself.

I’m creative and her grandmother is an artist, so she’s definitely a natural. I am so proud of her. Whenever she wants to do something, she does it. If she asks me to do […]


My little girl is so creative!

She made this creation out of pennies and different coins lying around the house all by herself.

102_4492.jpg

I’m creative and her grandmother is an artist, so she’s definitely a natural. I am so proud of her. Whenever she wants to do something, she does it. If she asks me to do something for her and I take too long, she does it herself.

Taking my own advice

I was talking to my little boy today on the way to school about a flyer that he received about a book club at the local library. He told me that he wanted to join. I asked him what made him want to join and he said because it could further his education. Of course […]


I was talking to my little boy today on the way to school about a flyer that he received about a book club at the local library. He told me that he wanted to join. I asked him what made him want to join and he said because it could further his education. Of course this sounds like his teacher talking more than anything; but hey, whatever it takes to get him to join.

I signed him up last year and he was less than enthusiastic about it. I was so busy with school that I didn’t press the point.

I told myself that this summer would be different than other summers. In the past, I have made all types of resolutions about doing things at the beginning of summer and did not really follow through.

One thing that I have learned from not having the time when I was in school, is that time is precious. They grow up way too fast.

This summer I am going to sign him up for the reading club again and follow through. Not only that, I was thinking about my post from a couple of days ago, Guys Read. I thought about the advice that I was giving out and I said, “You know what David, we’re going to make our own Guys Read.”

After all, we do have well over 400 children’s books.

So, I’m going to take my own advice and make a Guys Read section in my house. I am going to go all out; it’s going to be a total experience. I’m going to make a sign-in chart and a log for the time that I’ve scheduled for his reading. And of course I am going to make the stickers and the bookmarks again. It is going to be like a real book club with a logo and everything.

Even though I have quite a few books, we will still have our usual trips to the bookstore and the library.

I will post about the stuff I’ll make later.

Hello world!

BehaviorMod.info is an interactive Web resource for information about how to use humane, evidence-based, and effective methods to teach behavior.
I’ve left the “Hello world!” title on this post. It’s not just the default WordPress title for the first post (and, of course, what many books about programming use as the first example of how […]

BehaviorMod.info is an interactive Web resource for information about how to use humane, evidence-based, and effective methods to teach behavior.

I’ve left the “Hello world!” title on this post. It’s not just the default WordPress title for the first post (and, of course, what many books about programming use as the first example of how to create output), but also a fitting greeting from this blog.