Module PLP-4021:
P of Learning & Beh Change I

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Marguerite Hoerger

Overall aims and purpose

This module is a key module that sets the foundation for understanding behaviour analysis on a theoretical and philosophical basis and the implications these principles have for the treatment of behavioural problems. The module aims to build knowledge of the conceptual and philosophical background to the philosophy of the science of behaviour analysis. The module also covers key content areas of the Behaviour Analysis Certification Board Task List 4, for those wishing to attain BCBA certification status.

Course content

This module is a key module that sets the foundation for understanding behaviour analysis on a theoretical and philosophical basis and the implications these principles have for the treatment of behavioural problems. The module covers the philosophical underpinnings of Skinner’s radical behaviourism, the language and vocabulary of behaviour analysis, and the unique perspective behaviour analysis adopts when explaining the causes of human behaviour. Topics covered include: the three-term contingency, motivational operations, positive and negative reinforcement and punishment, Pavlovian conditioning, stimulus control, schedules of reinforcement, choice and the matching law, behavioural momentum, the language of science, and the basic philosophical foundations of radical behaviourism.

Assessment Criteria

good

Good 60 - 69%

• Some insight into the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Strong knowledge of key concepts in applied behaviour analysis. • Solid understanding of theoretical issues mostly free of factual errors. • Evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Coherent arguments presented, with some limited synthesis and original interpretation • Answer focussed on question, but with very little irrelevant material and clear structure • Well-structured presentation showing focus of argument and expression.

threshold

Threshold 50 – 59%

• Some basic consideration of the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Adequate knowledge of some of the key concepts in applied behaviour analysis only. • Weaknesses in understanding theoretical issues with multiple/major factual errors. • Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Arguments are presented briefly, but they are weak with no synthesis or original interpretation. • Answer only briefly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure. • Weak presentation with disjointed structure and major APA format errors.

excellent

Excellent 70% +

• Depth of insight into the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of applied behaviour analysis. • Excellent understanding and original interpretation of theoretical issues with no factual errors. • Clear evidence of critical analysis and insightful evaluation of theory and research. • Logically presented and defended arguments presented with coherent synthesis and original interpretation. • Answer focussed on question, with no irrelevant material and clear structure. • Well-structured presentation showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.

Learning outcomes

    1. Demonstrate advanced theoretical knowledge in the major principles of respondent and operant behavior
    1. Demonstrate competency in Foundational Knowledge and Fundamental Elements of Behavior Change accompanying the BACB Fourth Task List (FK01—FK38; FK 47-48; C01—C03; D01-D02; D15—D21) (See BACB Fourth Task List for more detail).
    1. Demonstrate advanced theoretical knowledge in the theoretical and philosophical background to behaviour analysis (radical behaviourism)
    1. Demonstrate advanced theoretical knowledge in how these principles are involved in the development of behavioural disorders

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay Assignment 1 50
Final Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Three hours lectures for 12 weeks

36
Seminar

Group discussions

9
Private study 155

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.

Resources

Resource implications for students

All core and recommended readings available in the library. It is recommended that all students should purchase at least Cooper et al.

Reading list

Core Text: Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. 2nd Ed. (2007) Applied Behavior Analysis. NY. MacMillan.

Highly recommended for module and course:

Skinner, B.F. (1974). About Behaviorism. New York: Knopf. Bailey, J., & Burch, M. (2006). How to think like a behavior analyst, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Snider, S. M. (2012). The science of consequences: how they affect genes, change the brain, and impact our world. Amherst: Prometheus Books. Chiesa, M. (1994). Radical behaviorism: The philosophy and the science. Boston: Authors Coop. Biglan, A (2015) The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World.

Further useful sources:

Catania, C.A. (1998). Discriminated operants: Stimulus control. In C.A. Catania (Ed.), Learning. (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Leslie, J.C., and O’Reilly, M.F. (1999). Decreasing maladaptive behavior in applied settings. . In Behavior analysis: Foundations and applications to psychology. Amsterdam: Harwood.

Schmitt, D.R. (1998) Social behavior. In K.A. Lattal and M. Perone (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in human operant behavior. New York: Plenum.

Shull, Richard L., and Lawrence, P. Scott. (1998). Reinforcement: Schedule performance. In K.A. Lattal and M. Perone (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in human operant behavior. New York: Plenum.

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: