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Psychology Dept | Library | Other SPCL OER

SPCL 7915 Behavioral Assessment and Intervention: Session 2 - Module 1, continued: ABCs of Behavioral Assessment

Open Educational Resource (OER) created for Professor Elizalde-Utnick's SPCL 7915 course.


Please complete the following PRIOR to our Zoom session on February 11:

1. Blackboard Homework #1

In lieu of a reading, complete the following exercise and submit Blackboard:

Desrochers & Fallon Ch. 1 Exercises 1-3

Exercise #2 mentions using Ch. 7 templates from: Desrochers & Fallon

2. Join Zoom session at 1:00/4:30 p.m.

Note: Since there is no quiz, we will start class at 1:00/4:30 depending on your course section.


In this session we will explore environmental factors that maintain a student’s challenging behavior, as well as the ABC’s of behavioral assessment, including: positive and negative reinforcement; escape and avoidance conditioning; motivational operations; and setting events.


lacy dog with ball photo

1. Lacy wags her tail when she is shown her ball. Her tail wagging is likely a product of…

Operant conditioning?  Respondent conditioning?

2. Lacy positions herself to catch the ball when Grace counts to three aloud, exhibiting an intense focused look at the ball when Grace reaches says This behavior is a product of…

Operant conditioning?  Respondent conditioning?

3. Tessa is anxious about the approaching deadline for her term project. The anxiety is a product of…

Operant conditioning?   Classical conditioning?

4. Tessa decides to do something about it and starts outlining her paper. This outcome reflects…

Operant conditioning?   Classical conditioning?

5. Jose’s selective mutism manifests itself in school but not at other social settings such as the recreation center. The anxiety associated with the school building reflects…

Operant conditioning?   Classical conditioning?

6. Jose's not talking reflects…

Operant conditioning?   Classical conditioning?


Sonia is in her second year of grad school, and her classes meet in the late afternoon and evenings. She was dismayed to realize that she gained 25 pounds over the course of the past year. She realized that her eating routine is a mess because of her classes. She is often hungry around 3:30 and eats a snack before class, such as crackers with hummus. At 7 p.m. she is on break between classes and she eats a sandwich for dinner with her classmates. She gets out of class at 9:40 p.m. and gets home at 10:30. While she is tired, she likes to relax and wind down before going to sleep. She typically sits at her kitchen table and watches TV. She finds that she is hungry and eats a snack, such as chips with spinach and artichoke dip or rice and beans. By midnight she is in bed and ready to go to sleep.

Conduct an ABC analysis and consider a behavior intervention plan: 1) What are the triggers/antecedents? How will you prevent the problem behavior by directly addressing the triggers? 2) How will you reinforce the desired behaviors?