The purposes of this article are to explore the functions of behavior tangible and their relationship to each other. I am a behavior therapist who uses a variety of methods to help clients change their behaviors and their relationships. I believe that people can change and benefit from understanding the functions of behavior tangible. This helps them to make changes they would not otherwise make, and it helps them to become more adept at using the tools of effective and constructive reinforcement.
Most people use both direct and indirect reinforcers to influence their lives. We choose our friends, coworkers, and lovers; we seek employment and jobs; we build relationships with co-workers; and we obtain education and entertainment. All of these people depend on our ability to be friendly, to make them feel good about themselves, to be fun to be around, and to take advantage of the opportunities they have. We rely on indirect reinforcers to help us achieve these goals. The choices we make about the people we interact with, the places we go, the products we purchase, and the events we attend also depend on our reliance on the tangible consequences of those choices.
The specific behaviors that reinforce appropriate requests and the goals we have in mind are always the same: First, we tell the person “no”, then we give them a consequence (in the form of a time out, a demeaning remark, or a pat on the back), and finally, we reinforce the request or the goal by providing the next best alternative. These are just three of the behavior antecedents we use. In addition, if a person has already violated the request, we might remind them of it in a number of different ways. These various reinforcers provide evidence that the request or goal is still relevant and important to them.
The functions of behavior tangible are even more refined for each individual. The ultimate goal is to remove all possibility for the possibility of a person experiencing the negative consequences of their behavior. This can take place through explicit reinforcement (expects and exures), as in acts of kindness and compassion, and it can take place through the threat of a punishment (such as a demeaning comment or a pat on the back). There are definitely limits to this kind of reinforcement, which explain why it is not the most commonly used type of behavior reinforcement.
When it comes to inappropriate behavior, then, it is necessary to use a different set of reinforcement procedures. For example, you might choose to reinforce appropriate behavior with a gentle compliment. A compliment does not have to be particularly nice; you just need to say something like “I appreciate that you did that” or “I am impressed with your leadership”. A consequence could also be a time out; this would remind the person that they are in the wrong place, or that their inappropriate behavior is disrupting the lives of others. A stronger reinforcer might then be a punishment of some kind, such as a loss of privileges, or a loss of job for example.
All of these methods of behavior reinforcement are useful. They all work because they give an explanation of what causes a particular kind of behavior. They allow the person who is experiencing the undesirable behavior to know that there will be a reaction card, or a consequence, if they continue down the path that they are on.
Functions of Behavior tangible in Behavior Reinforcement
In his book “Functions of Behavior: Apt Reasons for Behavior,” Roger Martin provides eleven concise steps to guide teachers in teaching children, young people, and adults the proper functions of behavior. These include the distinction between proximal and intrinsic rewards, the functions of positive and negative reinforcement, the functions of verbal and nonverbal cues, the functions of behavior avoidance and self-control, the functions of affiliation building, the functions of affiliation and esteem, the functions of consequence and expectation, the functions of assurance and peer pressure, and the roles of compliance and assertiveness. The main reason why this book was necessary was that many of these individual processes were missing or were being practiced incorrectly. The emphasis on the functions of behavior tangible is therefore very valuable in the teaching of social skills and group interaction.
It goes on to discuss the role of the parent in the change of behavior of a child. The book discusses ways to help parents learn new ways of reinforcing positive behaviors and to modify their approach to change by providing them with alternative methods and tools. The author recommends using an associated thinking model and a thinking process of associated reinforcement. These are ways of reinforcing appropriate behavior that do not rely solely on the use of punishment or on the use of consequences.
For example, one might use the extinction model, which is very similar to the reinforcement process. In the extinction model, if a child does something that gets him or her in trouble, his friends might come over and decide to tell the teacher or the parents. The teacher might then give out a consequence, such as time out or a written reprimand, which would serve to reinforce appropriate requests. Alternately, the teacher might just say to the child, “You know what? That’s not good enough.”