Behavioral Contracting

Description of the Strategy

A hallmark of the earliest forms of behavioral research and therapy was the rapid and repeated manipulation of potent stimuli in experimental or clinical settings. Indeed, early learning research conducted by Pavlov, Watson, Cover Jones, and others showed that the repeated pairing of evolutionarily significant events such as intense auditory stimuli or food (e.g., unconditioned stimuli) with previously neutral events (conditioned stimuli) under certain conditions (e.g., deprivation) could have a powerful effect on learning, including the acquisition and extinction of fear responses. As Skinner began to formulate his own brand of behaviorism, a new term, contingency, was introduced. Although initially the term described relations between antecedents, behaviors, and their consequences, it became apparent that the verbal specification of relations ...

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