Concepts and principles in behaviour analysis
Run by School of Educational Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Dr Marguerite Hoerger
Overall aims and purpose
This module sets the foundation for understanding the core concepts and principles of behaviour analysis. These concepts and principles underpin the application of the science to problems of social significance. The aim of the module is to provide students with the necessary conceptual understanding to apply the key principles in clinical practice and research.
The course will introduce the theoretical foundations of operant learning. The content is drawn from the BCBA Task List (5th Edition), Section 1: Foundations, Content Area B: Concepts and Principles.
1 Define and provide examples of behavior, response, and response class. 2 Define and provide examples of stimulus and stimulus class. 3 Define and provide examples of respondent and operant conditioning. 4 Define and provide examples of positive and negative reinforcement contingencies. 5 Define and provide examples of schedules of reinforcement. 6 Define and provide examples of positive and negative punishment contingencies. 7 Define and provide examples of automatic and socially mediated contingencies. 8 Define and provide examples of unconditioned, conditioned, and generalized reinforcers and punishers. 9 Define and provide examples of operant extinction. 10 Define and provide examples of stimulus control. 11 Define and provide examples of discrimination, generalisation, and maintenance. 12 Define and provide examples of motivating operations. 13 Define and provide examples of rule-governed and contingency-shaped behavior. 14 Define and provide examples of the verbal operants. 15 Define and provide examples of derived stimulus relations
Threshold 50 – 59%
• Some basic consideration underpinning principles 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 argument with disjointed structure and major APA format errors.
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.
Excellent 70% +
• Depth of insight into behavioural principles underpinning 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 argument showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.
Students will consider the role of language in operant learning; they will define and categorise the verbal operants. Students will explain and identify examples of rule governed behaviour.
Students will explain and identify the variables that support operant and respondent learning.
Students will critically analyse peer reviewed research papers relevant to the conceptual foundations of behaviour.
|ESSAY||Critical Evaluation of Research into Theoretical Foundations of Behaviour||
Students will summarise and critically evaluate a total of 4 peer reviewed research papers that explore one of the following topics: stimulus control, socially mediated reinforcement, negative punishment, unconditioned motivating operations.
The exam will assess students knowledge on all learning outcomes. The exam will be delivered on-line and students will have 24 hours to complete the exam, but we anticipate they should only need 2 hours. The exam will consist of essay questions,
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Students will be expected to complete the given readings and prepare for any in-class activities. Private study will also include exam preparation.
Lectures will be pre-recorded and students will be able to access the lectures at any time. The lecture time will include time spent reading and evaluating relevant papers, completing unmarked MCQ and interacting with an on-line community of students.
Seminars will run for 90 minutes every week for 8 weeks. The seminars will be delivered in person if allowed, and also via a remote platform. Students will be able to choose which seminar group to attend. The seminars will be an opportunity for students to consider how to apply the information they learned in lectures to clinical practice.
- 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.
- Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
- Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Subject specific skills
- Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
- Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
- Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
- 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.
- Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
- 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.
Resource implications for students
Students will be advised to purchase the core texts
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/plp-4041.html
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd ed.). Pearson.
Fisher, W.W,, Piazza, C.C., & Roane, H.S (2013). Handbook of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Guilford.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- C8EB: PGDip Applied Behaviour Analysis year 1 (DIP/APPBA)
- C8BL: MSc Applied Behavioural Analysis year 1 (MSC/ABA)
- C8EN: MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis with Practicum year 1 (MSC/ABAP)
- C8EC: MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis year 1 (MSC/APPBA)