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Behavioral Modification For Punctuality Psychology Essay

Literature pertaining to behavioral changes of late-coming habit is scare. As such, the goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing consequence to curb persistent late-coming behavior. The existing research on behavioral modification indicates that punishment of target action and encouragement of alternative action increases efficacy of behavioral modification. Therefore, it was hypothesized that concurrent application of consequence on late-coming behavior with support on punctuality will lessen the opportunity of late-coming action in the foreseeable future. This research included a female psychology undergraduate with a brief history of unpunctuality. The results of this study backed the hypothesis and some plausible explanations for the success of this treatment include the depth and immediacy of the abuse.

Word Matter: 116 words

Punctuality: A Behavioral Adjustment Case Study

Punctuality, thought as the capability to exchange some words and coordinate promptly, is part of the ethnics of everyday life, an indication of manners and concern for others (Shaw, 1994). Failure to keep 'good time' is typicallyviewed a matter of personal character, unless there's a sensiblereason, and has effect on many social relationship including companionship or job. Because of this, unpunctuality may be deemed as an undesirable behaviour which requires changing.

A popular method used to modify behaviour is Operant Conditioning (OC; Skinner, 1953). Based on the assumption that previous experiences serves as a reference point for which similar actions produces the same type repercussions, the consequences of the actions in OC determine whether a reply will be produced. Reinforcers increase the response rate of the behaviour while punishers reduce the response rate of behaviour. . Therefore, reinforcements appear well suited for introducing new behavior or/and increasing occurrence of existing behaviours while punishments seem to be befitting the suppression of existing behaviour would have to be curb.

Studies have shown that abuse is relatively far better than support in decreasing the likelihood of target behavior (Thompson, Iwata, Conners & Roscoe, 1999).

This might be because abuse is typically in a position to compete effectively with support contingencies that maintain the situation behaviour. However, using abuse to target undesired behaviour concurrently with the support of alternative behavior has also been found to produce better effects than each one used separately (Thompson et al. , 1999). The alternative behavior usually refers to the opposite of the mark behavior. For instance, the alternative patterns of smoking is not smoking. This addition of the support of alternative behavior then will serve as an alternate form of stimulation that furtherdecreases the probability of undertaking the undesired behavior. Another possible justification on how support of the alternative behaviour may improve the effects of punishment is the increased expense that is now associated with performing the target behavior. The consequence of performing the undesired target behavior is the delivery of punishment. This abuse becomes a cost towards carrying out the target behaviour because it can be an aversive result. Since one cannot perform the target behavior and alternative behavior at exactly the same time, the delivery of consequence also means there will be no encouragement of alternative behaviour. Hence, this absence of reinforcement of the choice behaviour then increases the cost of performing of the mark behaviour.

One well-known description of the mechanisms behind OC is regulations of Effect, in which satisfying or troublesome consequences serve to either strengthens or weaken the association between the behavior and the stimuli respectively (Thorndike, 1911). Specifically, positive legislations of effect expresses that greater satisfaction derived from performing the behavior strengthens this association to improve the future probability of that behaviour. In contrast, negative legislation of effect advises punishmentsto reduce the awareness of the behaviour to reinforcement to decrease the future probability of that behaviour and biased performance towards any unpunished choice behaviours (Rasmussen & Newland, 2008).

Other than encouragement of the choice behaviour, the many aspects of the abuse including immediacy of the abuse, the magnitude of the consequence and just how punishment is being introduced have also been found to have an effect on the effectiveness of implementing punishment. Specifically, more immediate punishment decreases the probability of target behavior in the future (Camp, Raymond & Church, 1967)and hence, increases efficiency of punishment. Likewise, success of the treatment is boosts when greater the intensityof thepunishment reduces the plausibility of aim for patterns being performed in the foreseeable future (Azrin, 1960). Additionally, sudden exposure to highly aversive stimulus is much more likely to decrease performance of goal behavior in the foreseeable future compared to continuous increments of averseness (Azrin, Holz & Hake, 1963). However, other factors such as the presence of public reinforcer and the participant's personal level of motivation also add towards the efficacy of the punishment in decreasing the likelihood of the target behaviour. Particularly, having the social approval for the choice patterns and strong personal desire to change concentrate on behaviour both increases the possibility of the alternative behavior (Harlow, 1959; Miller & Rollnick, 2012).

Behavioural changes has been thoroughly examined and also used as a form of therapy (Behavioural therapy) or integrated into treatments (E. g. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Yet, regardless of the ubiquitous dynamics of punctuality or unpunctuality in life, studies regarding behavioural adjustment appear scare. As a result, hoping of expanding the current literature on behavioural changes for late-coming, the aim in the present study was to judge the efficacy of intervention integrated to curb prolonged late-coming habit. This study hypothesized that the concurrent application of consequence on late-coming behavior with support on punctuality will reduce the frequency of late-coming habit.



A 21 calendar year old Chinese woman undergraduate student learning Psychology, the topic was executing a behavioural learning module during the study. The late-coming habit has been obvious since she was an adolescent. At the time of the analysis, this habit became a concern as her institution has recently implemented a biometric system that required students to log in their attendance no later than 15 minutes of the commencement of school and thus, influenced her schoolattendance. Outside of school, although family and friends have been condoning the habit, this matter of late-coming has been brought up multiple times.

A functional analysis evaluation of the subject's late-coming reveals antecedents such as waking up past due and the desire to complete whatever is readily available with the consequences of getting to settle and satisfaction from completing the task-at-hand. In other words, the late-coming behaviour is said to be reinforced and likely continue because of the ability to sleep-in later and the satisfaction derived from completion of jobs.


The materials contains a smartphone for the recording of established time and time of arrival at the appointment venue, a program of celery and bubble tea for the punishment and reinforcement respectively.

Design and Procedure

Measurement of lateness was assessed by locating the difference between your supposed appointment time of the appointment (Organized Time) and the actual time of introduction at the appointment's venue (Arrived Time). Personal -taking of the expected getting together with time of the visit and genuine time of appearance at the appointment venue into the smartphone was conducted immediately after entrance at the appointment venue.

The review was a single subject A-B design test, consisting of one baseline period and one intervention phase each long lasting for an interval of two weeks. Through the baseline phase, scope of lateness was measured according to the measurement method defined above and there was no intervention effect for late-coming. In the intervention phase, scope of lateness was assessed as per the measurement technique detailed above as well. However, for each and every time the subject was late for a scheduled appointment, she was punished to eat one-third of any stalk of celery. When the subject was no longer overdue for three consecutive meetings, she was strengthened with a glass of bubble tea. The number of consecutive time the subject was no longer late for session was reset subsequent each compensation of bubble tea. It should, however, be known that during the course of the intervention phase, there is a wait in the delivery of consequence after the first event of late-arrival before following day when the celery was purchased.




The results mentioned that lowered occurrences of late-coming behavior as well assmaller time dissimilarities between Arranged Time and Arrived Time during involvement compared to baseline phases (see Figure 1). On average, the subject appeared 25 minutes past due for her session during baseline period and 2. 6 minutes earlier for her session during intervention phase. Specifically, through the intervention phase, there were two occurence of late-coming behaviour. The first included the topic arriving 7 minutes late for the appointment as the second occurence engaged the topic arriving later for 15 minutes. However, superficial comparability reveals the magnitude of lateness of every of this occurence still less than baseline average.

Figure 1. An archive of time difference between the established time of appointment and the actual showed up time of the subject during baseline and treatment period.


The behavioural adjustment intervention effectively taken out the late-coming behavior of a lady undergraduate student. Quite simply, this reinforced the hypothesis that the concurrent request of abuse on late-coming patterns with reinforcement on punctuality reduced the regularity of late-coming tendencies and promoted the desired alternative patterns of arriving punctually.

This has been found to be consistent with the findings of Thompson and acquaintances (1999) which found thatconcurrently pairing consequence on self-injuring patterns together with reinforcement on alternative behaviour helped reduce the frequency of self-injuring tendencies and increase occurrence of the alternative behavior. Because of the negative legislation of effect, abuse reduces the level of sensitivity of the action to the encouragement that is previously maintaining the patterns and promotes a reply bias for the unpunished alternative patterns (Rasmussen & Newland, 2008). This reduction in sensitivity of target patterns to the reinforcement(s) maintaining the patterns was confirmed by the suppression of late-coming behavior after punishment was applied. Concurrently, an increment in regularity of the choice behavior was witnessed. Consequently, using of consequence and reinforcement to the choice behavior may have contributed to the efficiency of this treatment.

On top of this, immediacy in the delivery of consequence may possibly also have put into the efficacy of the intervention. The lack of celery during the first incident delayed the implementation of punishment. This was met with a second consecutive incident of late-coming atan even higher amount of lateness. In contrast, the immediate implementation of consequence to the topic at the second event of late-coming effectively suppressed late-coming patterns for the remaining intervention stage. Hence, this illustrated the importance of immediate consequence in execution of the abuse. Azrin (1960) suggested more immediate results for stronger association between the behavior and its consequences to bring about higher performance in interventions. This might have arisen on the foundation that human's behavior are more heavily inspired by immediate outcomes than delayed results (Logue, 1998). Therefore, immediate punishment of a focus on tendencies will be regarded to possess an increased cost in comparison to delayed punishment when performing the target behavior.

Another possible contributor to the success of the treatment might have been the strength of the highly aversive consequence. Highly aversive stimulus is capable of suppressing the undesired action for a brief period of time (Azrin, 1960). This craze was seen in the subject after the first punishment was applied because pursuing that, suppression of late-coming behavior was looked after for the rest of the intervention phase. This may be due to increased salient cost associated with the performance of the target behavior.

In evaluation to little by little increasing punishment from low intensity to high depth, sudden advantages of high intensity abuse has been associated with longer suppression of response rate (Azrin, Holz & Hake, 1963). Consequently, when the delayed abuse for the first late-arrival coincided with the consequence for the next occurrence in the study, the combined power of getting the punishment for both occurrences at a go was very high. Instead of steady increment in depth which allows subjects to become immune system to the impacts of more severe punishment, this increased in magnitude could have shocked the topic and strengthened the operant conditioning between the behavior and the intensively aversive effect. Consequently, this strong association increases the expense of performing the target behavior which eventually decreases the likelihood of performing the habit.

However, other factors could also have contributed to the success of the involvement plan. Specifically, the occurrence of public reinforcers (Harlow, 1969) such as encouragements and praises from the subject's family and friends could have been prompted the subject to be relatively highly encouraged in changing the late-coming habit. This is especially since punctuality has cultural consequences and the choice behavior had been reinforced by her communal environment. Additionally, high intrinsic motivation for change has been advised to be a key contributor to the efficacy in remedies (Miller & Rollnick, 2012). Thus, with the topic possessing high degree of personal motivation for change, this could have been one of the key contributors towards success in the intervention rather than the involvement itself.

Limitations of the study included the sole subject A-B experimental design and the brief intervention stage. In future, improving the current experiment into an A-B-A-B experimental design with a longer intervention stage may be more indicative of the maintenance of the result of the behavioral adjustment. This information may be crucial in estimating the real effectiveness of the involvement since maintenanceof the revised behavior is the best goal for some behavioral modification programs such as smoking.

Future research direction may also want to add an examination on the capability to do generalization of the findings across adjustments and across people. For the past, it was observed that this involvement took place during the school term with only 1 non-academic appointment taking place during the involvement stage. Yet, it hasalso already been widely advised in the field that for habit change to exceed the clinical environment, treatment be done in several contexts. This is also to avoid stimulus discrimination in a way that the environment merely becomes an indicator for the emission of the changed behavior. Additionally, for this finding to be generalized across people, replications of the intervention intend to other individuals with late-coming behavior will be required. This is especially because the depth of celery and bubble tea as punishment and encouragement will fluctuate across people matching to personal inclination. Nonetheless, the findings of this review are valuable in the analysis of efficiency of the concurrent software of punishment and support in alternative action as a action modification intervention. As such, this review may pave the way for future studies upon this topic of modifying late-coming behavior as long as the stimulus found in the involvement is customized to the average person.

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