Changing Behavior Case Study Analysis

1033 words 5 pages
Changing Behavior Case Study Analysis
Baker College – PSY111 Seminar 3

Changing Behavior Case Study Analysis
A client approached me because he has a serious problem with procrastination. My client has procrastinated most activities that were not comfortable or enjoyable for as far back as he can remember. Procrastinated activities include but are not limited to paying bills, doing homework assignments, making progress on assigned projects in the office, buying presents for birthdays or holidays and scheduling just about anything. Due to this undesirable behavior my client has lost a few jobs, failed out of school and is behind on his mortgage. Of all of these activities my client would like assistance with procrastination as it
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Thorndike’s Law of Effect states that behavior that is rewarded often will be “stamped in” and that behavior that causes some sort of discomfort will be “stamped out”. (Morris, C., & Maisto, 2013) Using the same example we used for classical conditioning, we will discuss my client’s undesired behavior of procrastinating bill payments using an operant conditioning scenario. In this case paying bills was the behavior. The punisher was the yelling and arguing that caused the feeling of stress. Due to continued exposure to the “stress of paying bills” my client developed an aversion to paying them. Thus his procrastination could be considered an operant behavior. This is backed up by Thorndike’s Law of Effect as stated above. (Morris, C., & Maisto, 2013)
Cognitive and Social Learning Theories:
The social learning theories can be applied to my client’s undesired behavior of procrastination and in my opinion may make more sense than the other two theories of operant and classical conditioning. As a child my client was exposed to the stress caused by lack of money that my client related to bills. My client learned the behavior that bills were not fun to pay and should be avoided at an early age. This is a blend of cognitive and social learning. My client did not realize that he had learned to avoid paying bills. This is an example of latent learning since the behavior was learned but had not been demonstrated yet. Edward Chace Tolman was a


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