The Teaching of Behavior Modification: In and Beyond the Classroom

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Behavior Modification began as the practice of simple behavioral principles in special-needs cases. This is no longer the case. I teach Behavior Modification at my University to a selection of future educators, nurses, and psychology practitioners. To do so, I must instruct my students on the contemporary principles of behaviorism, and how they apply across a variety of fields. These principles are far more sophisticated than most people think, and are often ignored or misrepresented in introductory textbooks. Social learning, critical thinking and problem solving are integral parts of behavior modification, and are best learned in application. Each of my students conducts their own modification program, as well as writing papers on additional applications. For the paper presentation, I will have examples of instructional materials, as well as examples of student programs from previous classes. Finally, I will have a listing of key concepts that successful programs depend upon. For each, I will offer examples of successful applications, as well as misapplications that fail.


Keywords: Behavior Modification, Operant Psychology, Rule-Governed Behavior
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Matthew George-Luke Margres

Professor, Department of Psychology, Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw, Michigan, USA

My Ph.D. is in Experimental Psychology, with a diverse background in Physiological/Sensory, as well as Learning and Memory. I am a Cognitive Psychologist by title, but I had extentive graduate training in Behavior Modification from Washington State University, as well as two years experience as a Psychiatric Counselor. My research interests are in the schematic nature of imagery and scene perception, though I also have extensive experience as a naturalist, which I employ in teaching Comparative Psychology at my University. My diversity of interests is indicated by the following courses I teach: Behavior Modification, Comparative Psychology (with lab), Cognitive Psychology (with lab), Sensation and Perception (with lab), Learning (with lab), Experimental Methods, Statistics, History of Psychology, Human Aggression, Educational Psychology and Sex, Gender, and Sexuality. My other interests reflect my athletic past in which I was the USA two-time National Olympic Lifting Champion, and captain of the USA team for the Jr. World Championship, I have held multiple bodybuilding titles, and was an All-Conference collegiate football player.

Ref: L08P0609