“The principle modus operandi of [environmental] organizations is to frighten people rather than offer them a world to which they will turn because of the reinforcing consequences of doing so”. B.F. Skinner Chapter 5 ~ Behavioral Psychology~ Contingency management Amber Gilewski Tompkins Cortland Community College Behaviorism or behavioral psychology: • Focuses on the ways in which behavior is controlled by the environment Environment: • The total physical, social, political, and economic situation in which a person behaves • The total environment cues behaviors, which then are followed by consequences: – Rewards – Punishers Schedules of Reinforcement Continuous reinforcement schedule: • People’s actions tend to change more quickly when consequences are consistently administered Portlandia: No Grocery Bag Intermittent reinforcement schedule: • Behaviors will last longer when reinforcers are withdrawn, and will extinguish more slowly • Behaviors developed under optimal reinforcement schedules can become habitual and thus very durable (i.e. charging for bags) Contingency trap: • Occurs when immediate short-term reinforcers are more powerful than longterm ones Behavioral engineering: • Involves altering the contingencies that create or maintain destructive actions to motivate pro-environmental behaviors • People are more likely to act in environmentally responsible ways when reinforcers are intrinsic • In other words, when the activity is enjoyable or in alignment with the person’s values • Values aren’t typically sufficient to motivate behavior • However, the opportunity to reduce cognitive dissonance – the disconnect between attitudes and behavior – is reinforcing Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM): • Focuses on interventions that reduce or remove punishing aspects of behavioral change, in four ways: 1. Recognizing the barriers to environmentally appropriate behaviors 2. Selecting particular behaviors to promote 3. Designing programs that effectively address specific barriers 4. Following-up after the intervention to evaluate success • Attempts to curtail environmentally destructive behavior are likely to extinguish if not consistently prompted (using SDs) or reinforced • Humans deplete resources because the real costs of consumption are not yet contingent on actions Social dilemmas or social traps : • Happen when there is an inherent conflict between an individual’s self-interest and the interest of the larger group • • • • • • • • Steps of a self-control project: Define the problem Set a goal Make a public commitment Observe baseline behavior Design a stimulus control Formulate a contract Check on changed behavior Consider ways of generalizing the change to related behaviors Addiction: The Stages of Change Model. Reprinted from DiClemente, C. (2003). Addiction and Change: How Addictions Develop and Addicted People Recover, New York: Guilford, Figure 3, p. 30. With permission.