Behavior Modification Project Examples

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

What exactly is behavior modification? As your students learn about the topic, you may consider assigning them to modify their own behavior. This lesson contains project examples that your students can learn from.

What is Behavior Modification?

A common topic in psychology classes and theory, behavior modification involves altering behavior to encourage a desired behavior or discourage an undesired behavior. To do this, you might use positive or negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is adding something (like a reward or punishment), while negative reinforcement means you're taking something away.

You may want your students to create their own behavior modification projects in which they are attempting to alter their behavior while using positive or negative reinforcement. The following examples will give your students an idea of how to go about behavior modification.

Healthy Eating Example

Identifying Target Behavior

I have been struggling to make sure I get enough healthy foods in my diet lately. I decided that it's important for me to limit junk food and make sure I eat enough fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins.

Baseline Data

I kept a food diary for a week to record what I was eating. I made sure to note the time and location. I found that I was eating chips and candy after school. I also found that I usually didn't eat breakfast, but my dinners included a healthy protein and at least one vegetable.

Stimulus Conditions

I don't have much time in the morning to eat breakfast, which is why I always skip this meal. At the end of the school day, I'm very hungry and get something readily available which usually ends up being junk food from the vending machines at school.

Setting A Goal

Since skipping breakfast results in less-desirable choices in the afternoon, I decided it would be important for me to eat breakfast every day. I also decided to bring healthy snacks to school every day. Hopefully, that would result in buying less junk food.

Punishers and Reinforcers

My reinforcer is simply that I felt better and healthier when I ate less junk food. My punisher is that I felt sick when I ate too much junk food.

Design a Program

Since time is an issue in the morning, I decided to make hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the refrigerator. I could just take one every morning to eat on my way too school for my breakfast. I also decided to keep an apple, banana, and almonds in my backpack to snack on instead of buying junk food.

Results

I had eggs every morning, which definitely resulted in less junk food in the afternoons. I only bought chips twice during the week, instead of every day. I ate my healthy snacks as an alternative three of the days.

Homework Example

Identifying Target Behavior

I put off homework until right before it's due.

Baseline Data

I looked back through my school planner and realized that for 90% of my assignments in the past two weeks, I did my homework the day before.

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