PSYB38 Case Study
Select a case study from the list below. Read carefully and craft your response as a formal report in a maximum of 2 pages (12-point font, TNR, 1.5 line spacing).
- Perform a functional assessment based on the information provided and 2) propose an intervention to change the behaviour. 3) Explain how you would conduct an experiment to test your intervention and what the results would indicate.
Define and identify the target behaviour, the antecedents, behaviour, and consequences of the current situation. What behavioural modification principle is maintaining this behaviour (e.g.. operant, respondent, both)? What cues are currently in place? How would you propose to change this behaviour using what we have learned in this course? How would you test your intervention? How would you assess if it worked or not?
You will be graded on the following criteria:
Functional assessment -25%
- Accuracy-Target behaviour identified, ABCs identified, clear link to modification principles.
- Depth- Nuances and subtleties identified and considered.
Intervention – 25%
- Accuracy-Intervention clearly addresses issues identified in functional assessment. Clear justification for why this intervention was chosen.
- Research, creativity, and plausibility- Intervention is well thought out and plausible given the scenario’s context. Intervention is clearly aligned with principles of behaviour modification and has evidence to support it.
Experiment – 50%
- Accuracy – The proposed experiment is of scientifically sound design. Conclusions drawn from the results would be meaningful.
- Measures- measures are clearly stated and included in the experiment design.
- Interpretation- Experiment interpretation is clear and assessment of its results is justified.
Writing and Grammar -10%
- Writing is clear, formal, and concise. The report contains no grammar or spelling errors.
Case 1: Animal behaviour
- Your family friend is having an issue with their dog (Max). They have serious anxiety and tremendous stress taking Max for a walk. Max is a German Sheppard weighing 70 lbs and is very powerful. When it was a puppy it was attacked and bit by a dog in their old neighborhood. Now, whenever it encounters a dog it becomes very agitated, barking and jumping. The owners are concerned about their ability to control Max and are in constant fear of encountering another dog on their walks because of the reaction. They have asked you to help. You conducted a pre-assessment by watching them with Max from putting it on a leash and leaving the house to ending the walk at home. You noticed many things on the walk. The owners appear very tense throughout the walk. Max encountered several other neighbor dogs during the walk and reacted very strongly each time, barking, jumping, spinning, pulling on the leash. The owners gripped the leash tight during these instances and yelled “NO” until the other dog eventually left, they would then proceed to pet Max in an attempt to calm him down and the barking would eventually stop. When another dog was approaching, Max would stiffen up, ears up and tail would go back, the owners would stop walking, stiffen and hold the leash tight preparing for Max to launch into the behaviour. They would hold this position occasionally tugging at the leash and say “NO” until the other dog went a different direction or until the other dog got close enough that the barking, jumping, pulling would occur.
Case 2: Child under the care
- A child (JH) lives in a group home for children with developmental disorders. There is a 24-hour staff (3 at a time) that helps and cares for the children. JH is nonverbal, meaning he does not speak but occasionally grunts or mumbles to get his point across or signal that he wants something or is upset. JH exhibits self-injurious behaviour (SIB) several hundred times a day. He does this by banging his fist on his thigh. It can get so bad that his bruises have turned to a deep callus. The staff has tried many approaches to get JH to stop but the behaviour continues. They have brought you in to help to see if you can suggest an intervention that may help. You observe the staff and JH for a day. You notice the only times when JH is not exhibiting at least some SIB is when he is playing with his iPad, eating, or sleeping. The SIB usually begins relatively soft in intensity, and progressively gets harder and harder until one of the staff intervenes to stop him. One staff member ignored him while he was exhibiting SIB and JH response was to slowly walk closer and closer to the staff member and hit his leg harder and harder.
Case 3: Fare evasion
- The TTC loses millions in revenue each year to fare evasion (people riding without paying). They have tasked you to use the principles of behaviour modification to devise an intervention to stop people from evading the ticketing system. In your pre-assessment you observed riders coming in and out of the TTC, and notice in general, peoples’ behavior is very similar. Therefore, to assess fare evasion specifically you observe one individual you noticed never pays and decide to design intervention and experiment to get that individual to pay. If successful, you hypothesize this tactic could be used more widely. In your pre-assessment, you notice several things. The current punishment for fare evasion is a fine up to $450 dollars. The current reinforcement for not paying is a savings of $3.25. For your behavior you focus on the TTC streetcar, as it is much easier to board without paying than the subway. Most individuals pay using their PRESTO tap card. If their card is empty they may board and use one of the reload machines on the car, and then proceed to pay. You notice that the individual you observed evading, always boards the back of the streetcar, follows the crowd up the stairs, and then proceeds to find a spot to sit or stand, avoiding the pay machine. You notice that the pay machine is off to the right of the doors, and the reload machines are hidden in the middle of the train. You notice very little signage indicating what people should do, and what happens if you do not pay. You also notice that the driver is too busy operating the streetcar to watch whether people are paying or not