Ps385 Targeted Topics In Applied Behavior Analysis Unit 1 Discussion


Setting the Scene:

You are a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) who works for Applied Behavior Associates, a community mental health agency. A group home provider serving adolescent foster children, ages 13–17, has submitted a referral to your agency for staff training in “behavior control procedures.” You have been assigned to provide training in basic principles of positive behavior intervention for the home. The home previously contracted with a non-credentialed “behavior specialist” who wrote behavior guidelines for the staff to follow. These guidelines included such recommendations as, “Whenever you notice a resident becoming aggressive, tell him to go to the quiet area. If he refuses, implement the two-person transportation procedure to move him to the quiet area. Prevent the resident from leaving the quiet area until he is calm. After the resident has met criteria to leave the quiet area, remove all privileges for the rest of the day.” These procedures have failed miserably, and you are being asked to provide some guidance.


  • Discuss the three-term contingency (antecedent, behavior, and consequence) and its relevance to understanding why behaviors occur. What information pertaining to the three-term contingency needs to be considered in the current scenario?
  • Discuss the components necessary for an operational definition of a target behavior. Provide an operational definition of the target behavior labeled “aggression” in the scenario that could be used to provide more clarity.
  • Discuss one of the seven dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis outlined by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (found in Applied Behavior Analysis, Chapter 1, and beginning on page 16) and describe how the dimension can be applied when considering interventions in the current scenario.

Guided Response Posts:

In your first response to a peer, critique the operational definition that he/she provided for the behavior labeled, “aggression.” Does the definition meet the criteria for an operational definition (observable, measurable, and repeatable)? Could you easily take data on the occurrence of the behavior based upon the definition? How could you rewrite the definition to increase clarity?

In your second response to a peer, propose a possible contingency for the target behavior in the scenario, that is, use creative license and identify an antecedent and consequence. Then, propose a behavior intervention to address the probable function of the behavior.

Reading and Resources

Read the following:

Chapter 1 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd edition): “Definition and Characteristics of Applied Behavior Analysis”

Chapter 1 introduces the basic characteristics and goals of science. Functional relations are explained, as are the overarching attitudes of science. The history and evolution of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are discussed and the different types of behaviorism are explored.

Chapter 2 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd edition): “Basic Concepts and Principles”

The distinction between “behavior,” “response,” and “response class” are explained and behavior functions are introduced. The effects of reinforcement and punishment on behavior are discussed and examples regarding how these two principles of behavior analysis can be applied are provided. Information regarding how complex behavior, such as verbal behavior, is addressed in applied behavior analysis, is provided.

Chapter 3 in Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd edition): “Selecting and Defining Target Behaviors” (pp. 67– 70)

The critical importance of assessment in applied behavior analysis is discussed and the importance of using observable and measurable terms to describe behavior and intervention outcomes is explained. Factors that should be considered when determining which behaviors should be established, strengthened, or weakened are presented.


Ethics for Behavior Analysts
Edition: 3rd (2016)
Author: Jon Bailey and Mary Burch
Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Applied Behavior Analysis
Edition: 3rd (2019)
Author: John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward
Publisher: Pearson

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