Descriptive and Functional Analysis

Description of the Strategy

Central to behavioral theory is the concept that all behavior, functional or dysfunctional, is the result of learning history. More specifically, behavior that is followed by a reinforcement is more likely to reoccur, whereas behavior that either fails to be reinforced or is followed by a punishment is less likely to reoccur. Furthermore, an individual learns that reinforcement is more likely to occur for certain behaviors in certain circumstances than in others. Circumstances that signal a probable reinforcing consequence are termed discriminative stimuli (SD). For example, most adults have learned that picking up a ringing phone (SD) and saying “Hello” (target behavior) will be met with a response of “Hi, this is so and so… .” (reinforcement), whereas ...

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