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Differential Reinforcement

Differential reinforcement (e.g., DRA, DRO, and DRI) is an operant technique that combines positive reinforcement & extinction.

During a specified period of time, the individual is reinforced when he/she engages in behaviors other than the target behavior.

Often used to eliminate self-reinforcing behaviors by reinforcing alt. behaviors as long as indiv did not engage in target behavior.



Punishment: occurs when the application or withdrawal of a stimulus following a behavior decreases the occurrence of that behavior.

A major disadvantage of punishment is that it suppresses (rather than eliminates) a behavior.

Punishment is usually most effective when it is initially applied in moderation.

  • Positive Punishment: Techniques that use positive punishment involve applying a stimulus following a behavior to reduce or eliminate that behavior & includes verbal reprimants & physical punishment.
  • These techniques are usually less effective than those that rely on positive punishment
    • Tend to suppress rather than eliminate a behavior.
    • Assoc. w/a number of negative consequences including fostering aggressive behaviors in indiv. being punished qas well as fear of punisher.
    • Susceptible to habituation, which occurs when the punishment loses its aversive charateristic after being repeatedly applied & indiv. gets used to the punishment.
  • Negative Punishment: Involves removing a stimulus following a behavior to decrease that behavior.
    • Response Cost
    • Time out



Habituation: Initially administering punishment in a weak form and then gradually increasing its intensity increases the likelihood of habitutation, which occurs when a punishment loses its effectiveness.



An operant technique that is used to eliminate an undesirable behavior. A type of punishment in which the penalty for the undesierable behavior is performing more desierable alternative behaviors.

Consists of 2 phases:

  1. Restitution Phase: It involves having the indiv. correct the consequences of his/her behavior (Ex: Make a mess of room, req. to clean room) &/or
  2. Positive Practice Phase: The person practice approp. corrective behaviors (Ex: Req. child to clean family room after own room).

It may also require constant supervision and/or physical guidance, which can be problematic for indiv. who are very resistant or have been physically abused.


Response Cost

A form of negative punishment that involves removing a reinforcer (e.g., a specific number of tokens or points) following a behavior in order to reduce or eliminate that behavior.



A form of negative punishment in which the individual is removed from all opportunities for reinforcement for a prespecified period of time following a misbehavior in order to decrease the occurrence of that behavior.

  • It's effectivness is increased when it is combined w/a warning signal or explanation about why it's being applied.


Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)

A FBA is used to clarify the characteristics of a target behavior and determine its antecedents and consequences in order to identify an alternative behavior that serves the same functions and function-based interventions that can be used to substitute the alternative behavior for the target behavior.


Tolman's Latent Learning

Tolman's model of latent learning proposes that learning can occur:

  • w/out reinforcement &
  • w/out being manifested in performance improvement.

Tolman's research showed that rats formed "cognitive maps" of mazes without being reinforced for doing so.

The results indicate that the animals had learned something about the maze (i.e., formed cog. maps) & lead to the conclusion that learning can occur w/out apparent change/improvments in behavior (Reinforcement) & refered to this as latent learning.


Insight Learning 

(Kohler) Insight learning (the "aha" experience) refers to the apparent sudden understanding of the relationship btwn elements in a prob-solving situation.

Learning involves discovering relationships btwn elements of the prob.

Insight learning was originally described by Kohler as a result of his research with chimpanzees w/a variety of prob-solving tasks.

  • In one study "Sultan" had an aha exp. where he gained insight into the prob. and was able to solve it.


Observational Learning (Guided Participation, Self-Efficacy)

Bandura's observational learning theory predicts that behaviors can be acquired simply by observing someone else (a model) perform those behaviors & that observational learning is cognitively mediated and involves 4 processes:

  1. Attention: Learner attend to & accurately percieves the modeled behavior.
  2. Retention: Symbolically process the modeled behavior in memory via visual imagery/verbal coding.
  3. Motor Re-Production: Accurately reproduce & reherse the modeled behavior enhanced thru practice & performance feedback.
  4. Motivation: Perform req. motivation which is enhanced when reinforced but reinforcement may be either internal (self reinforced), vicarious or external.

Proposes that rienforcment is more important for performance than for learning.

Research on observational learning found that participant modeling, which combines modeling with guided participation, is the most effective type of observational learning especially for treating phobic reactions.

  • An observer is more likely to imitate a  model who is high in status or expertise;
  • Is percieved to be similar to the observer
  • Has been rienforced for perfroming the behavior.
  • Coping Models (Are more effective) Initally exhibit some appreahnsion when approaching feared object, but then overcome fear & successfully perform target behavior.
  • Mastery Models: (Less effective) Show no fear or uneasiness while performing the behavior.

Bandura's theory predicts that self-efficacy beliefs (beliefs about one's ability to perform a behavior or achieve a goal) are a primary source of motivation.

  • When an indiv. has low self-efficacy beliefs they are less likely to engage in behaviors & may avoid situations in which they are req. to perform those behaviors.

Reciprocal Determininsm: Refers to the fact that a person's characteristics, overt behaviors, & env. are in constant interaction.


Learned Helplessness Model/Reformulated Version

The learned helplessness model was originally derived from the observation that animals who were subjected to an uncontrollable negative event (inescapable electric shock) subsequently did not try to escape that event when they were able to do so.

The reformulated version of the model added attributions to the original theory and proposed that some forms of depression are due to the tendency to attribute negative events to internal, stable, and global factors. A subsequent revision acknowledged the role of attributions but proposed that they're important only to the extent that they contribute to a sense of hopelessness.


Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (Ellis)

From the perspective of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), emotions & behaviors are the consequences of a chain of events - A, B, C- where:

  • Antecedent (A): is the external event to which the individual is exposed; activating event
  • Belief (B): is the belief the individual has about the event (A); and
  • Emotional Consequence of Belief (C): is the emotion or behavior that results from the belief (B).

In other words, an emotional or behavioral response to an external event is due to beliefs about that event rather than to the event itself.

Primary goal is to ID & replace irrational beliefs w/more rational realistic ones.

In REBT, events D & E are added to the ABC chain:

  • Dispute (D): Therapist attempts to dispute & alter the indiv. irrational beliefs.
  • E: Alternative thoughts & beliefs that result from D

According to Ellis (1985), the primary cause of neurosis is the continual repetition of certain common irrational beliefs which are the targets of therapy.

12 common irrational beliefs underlie nurotic behavior

  • Each belief incorporates a rigid or absolute demand that is expressed as a "must", should," or "ought"


Cognitive-Behavior Therapy - Beck

(Schemas, Automatic Thoughts, Collaborative Empiricism, Socratic Dialogue)

(Beck) Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) goals are to correct faulty info. processing & to modify dysfx beliefs & assumptions that maintain maladaptive behaviors & emotions.

Strategies include cog. & behavioral rehersal, guided imagery, avtivity scheduling, & Socratic Dialogue: Questioning is the primary tool to help CT explore their maladaptive congnitions & reach logical conclusions about probs. & their consequneces.

CBT attributes depression & other psychopatholoy to certain cognitive phenomena including dysfunctional cognitions:

  • Cognitive Schemas - Underlying cognitive structures that are ways of org. & interpreting exp.
  • Automtic Thoughts - Surface level cognitions that have a strong emotional component & are experienced as plausible & logical. 
  • Cognitive Distortions - Systematic errors in information processing & are logical fallacies or errors in info. processing.
    • Include magnification, overgeneralization, dichotomous thinking & arbitrary inference (Drawing conclusions w/out sufficent evidence)

Each D/O has a unique cog. profile that reflects the indiv. automatic thoughts, cog. schemas & cog. distortions

  • The cog. profile for depression is a cognitive triad of negative beliefs about oneself, the world & the future
  • Cog. profile for anxiety reflects an excessive form of normal survival mehcanisms that's expressed as unrealistic fears about physical & psychological threats.

CBT is referred to as "Collaborative Empiricism" bc of its emphasis on a collaborative relationship btwn therapist & client.

CBT therapists often use Socratic Dialogue (questioning) to help clients reach logical conclusions about probs. & their consequences.

Ex: Panic D/O stems from "catastrophic misinterpretations" of bodily sensations & mental exp. in 1st few sessions of Tx focus on clarifying the nature of the CT's Sx's & how s/he misinterprets them.


Self-Instructional Training (SIT)

(Meichenbaum & Goodman, 1971) CBT Technique in which the indiv. learns to modify maladaptive thoughts & behaviors through the use of covert self-statements. Classified as a self-control technique bc involves teaching the indiv. to modify own behaviors thru use of self-statements.

Orig. devel. to help impulsive & hyperactive children slow down their behaviors & guide themselves through academic and other type of tasks.

Used to teach ppl to make positive & helpful self-statements when encounter problematic situations.

5 Steps:

  1. Cognitive Modeling: A model performs the task while making self-statments aloud (Instructions on how to do the task & self-reinforcing comments)
  2. Cognitive Participant Modeling: The CT performs the task while the model verbalizes instructions.
  3. Overt Self-Instruction: The CT performs the task while instructing him/herself aloud.
  4. Fading Overt Self-Instruction: The CT whispers instructions to him/herself while performing task.
  5. Covert Self-Instruction: The CT performs the task while saying the instructions w/out sound.


Stress Inoculation

A CBT technique that is used to help individuals cope w/stressful and other aversive states by enhancing their coping skills. It consists of three overlapping phases:

  1. Cognitive Preparation (Conceptualization): Ed/help CT understand behavior & log response to stresful situations. 
  2. Skills Acquisitions & Rehearsal: CT learns & reherses a variety of coping skills.
  3. Application & Follow Through: CT applies coping skills acquired to imagined, filmed & in-vivo stress producing situations.


Self-Control Therapy/Model (Rehm)

A brief form of therapy that is based on the assumption that deficits in 3 aspects of self-control increase a person's vulnerability to depression & make it difficult to deal effectively w/depressive Sx'.

There are 6 processes that involve 3 areas of self-control:

  1. Self-monitoring,
  2. Self-evaluation,
  3. Self-reinforcement.


Behavioral Model/Lewinsohn

Lewinsohn's behavioral model attributes depression to a low rate of response-contingent reinforcement due to inadequate reinforcing stimuli in the environment and/or the individual's lack of skill in obtaining reinforcement.



Biofeedback provides the individual with immediate and continuous feedback about an ongoing physiological process (e.g. muscle tension, blood pressure) with the goal enabling the individual to exercise voluntary control over that process. For many disorders (e.g., hypertension, tension headaches), relaxation is about equally effective as biofeedback. However, thermal biofeedback is a treatment-of-choice for Raynaud's disease, and thermal biofeedback plus autogenic training is an effective treatment for migraine headaches.


Information-Processing Model

(Sensory Memory, STM, LTM)

The information processing (multi-store) model describes memory as consisting of 3 separate, but interacting, stores:

  1. Sensory Memory (Sensory Register): Seems to be capable of storing a great deal of information, but the information is retained for no more than a few seconds. Information in sensory memory is transferred to STM when it becomes the focus of attention. (.5-2 secs)
    • Iconic Memory (Memory for visual images/icons)
  2. Short-Term Memory (STM): Holds a limited amount of info., & w/out rehearsal, info. begins to fade w/in 30 seconds. Info. is likely to be transferred from STM to LTM when it is encoded, especially when encoding involves elaborative rehearsal (relating new information to existing information). Capacity 7 digits =/- 2 digits/chunck of info.
  3. Long-Term Memory (LTM): The capacity of LTM seems to be unlimited.
    • Procedural Memory: Memory for knowing how.
    • Declarative Memory: Memory for knowin that/what & includes:
      • Semantic Memory: Memory for gen. knowledge that is indep. of any context
      • Episodic Memory: Memory for personally exp. events.
        • Flashbulb Memory: Very detailed moemories of events that elicited suprise, fear or other strong emotion.


Echoic Memory

Refers to the auditory sensory memory


Iconic Memory

An Aspect of sensory memory & refers to memory for visual images (icons).


Flashbulb Memory

Vivid memories of suprising, emotional events


Serial Position Effect

Research on the serial position effect has found that, when people are asked to recall a list of unrelated items immediately after reading the list, the items in the beginning & end of the list are recalled much better than those in the middle.

  • "primacy effect" occurs because items in the beginning of the list have already been rehearsed & stored in long-term memory,
  • "recency effect" occurs because items at the end of the list are still in short-term memory.


Levels-of-Processing Model

Proposes that differences in memory are not due to different stores or stages but to different levels of processing. The model distinguishes between 3 levels:

  1. Structural: (Physical) During memorization focus is on structural or physical properties & info. is processed in terms of what it looks like.
  2. Phonemic: (Acoustic/Sound) Info. is processed in terms of what it sounds like. Ex: What does the word rhyme with?
  3. Semantic:  Info. is process in terms of meaning of the words. 
    • The is thesemantic level  deepest level of processing & leads to the best retention.
    • Elaborative rehersal involves encoding info. at the semantic level.

Iconic Memory - An Aspect of sensory memory & refers to memory for visual images (icons).


Procedural versus Declarative Memory

Long-term memory is conceptualized as consisting of procedural and declarative components:

  • Procedural Memory: stores information about how to do things ("learning how").
  • Declarative Memory: mediates the acquisition of facts and other information ("learning that or what") & is subdivided into semantic and episodic memory:
    • Semantic memory includes memories for general knowledge that is independent of any context and is responsible for the storage of facts, rules, and concepts;
    • Episodic memory consists of information about events that have been personally experienced.


Prospective Memory

Prospective memory is considered by some researchers to be an aspect of long-term memory and is responsible for the ability to "remember to remember" (e.g., to remember a future appointment).


Multi-Component Model/Baddeley and Hitch

According to the multi-component model, working memory consists of a:

  • Central executive (The primary component of working memory & acts as an "attentional control system") &
  • 3 subsystems:
    • The phonological loop,
    • The visuo-spatial sketchpad
    • The episodic buffer 

The central executive is the primary component of working memory and serves as an "attentional control system." It's responsible for directing attention to relevant information, suppressing irrelevant information, and coordinating the three subsystems.


Trace Decay Theory

Trace decay theory proposes that loss of memory (forgetting) is due to the gradual decay of memory traces (engrams) over time as the result of disuse.

Forgetting due to pasage of time


Interference Theory

(Retroactive & Proactive Interference)

Proposes that forgetting occurs when materials interfere w/the storage or retrieval process.

2 Types:

  • Retroactive: occurs when recently learned information interferes w/the recall of previously learned info & most likely to occur when subsequent & prior learning are similar in terms of content. (Backward in time)
  • Proactive: occurs when previously learned material interferes w/the learning or ability to recall similar, more recently learned material. (Forward future)


State Dependent Learning

Research on state-dependent learning has shown that recall of information tends to be better when the learner is in the same emotional state during learning and recall.