“Functions of Behavior: What is It?” by Joseph Toscan is a very interesting book written by a pioneer in the fields of child development. It may not be the kind of book you’re looking for a “text book on parenting”; however, it is definitely an interesting little book that explores many of the most important topics relating to the nature of human beings and our behavior in general.
While reading the book, I found that the chapters were very orderly and logical; this makes sense since Toscan basically lays out the logical steps to achieving your goals. As he states, “A goal is a sequence of actions leading to a conclusion” and he defines it thus, “A goal can be considered to be a directed course of action that determines its own end.” And because we are all unique in our abilities to learn, remember, and adapt, what this means is that we all have different but definite functions of behavior data that determine how we will act in response to certain situations. What is also great about this book is that it actually frames the question in an intelligent way and doesn’t resort to making you go back and forth and re-explaining everything to you.
The chapters start out with a discussion of the definition of behavior, and it is brief and concise without needing to spend too much time in elaborating on such an important topic. Next, chapters cover different areas of behavior, with examples from science and from everyday life. For example, one chapter focuses on the functions of behavior data when eating; this chapter basically sums up the entire topic in two pages, making it easy to understand. After this, the focus turns to what you can do to improve your behavior and the importance of positive reinforcement.
One thing I thought was really great was the way Toscan breaks down the different functions of behavior in simple terms that anyone can understand. He starts with the way one’s body reacts to pain, then goes on to the function of the stomach for dealing with pain, then the brain for creating the sense of smell, then how one’s brain is used for making decisions and then finally to use the mind to think things through before acting. It would have been nice if these functions were more easily explained in a more simple way, but that’s just my personal opinion.
Another thing I thought was useful was that he included exercises for making sure you’re doing everything right. I feel like there are so many people out there who don’t pay attention to these little things, and I hate when something goes wrong. The book includes some very useful exercises to make sure you’re doing things right. One exercise is for drawing the correct correlation between each function. Other exercises include reminding yourself why you did something the way you did it.
The last thing I thought was useful was that there was a glossary of Japanese terms. That makes it easy to figure out what the terms mean. Even if you don’t read this book, if you watch a Japanese program on TV you can get a good idea of what the terms mean. Overall I think that The Functions of Behavior by Izumi Noamaki is a very interesting little book and a very accessible read. If you want to know more about Japanese psychology and how to put it into practice, then I highly recommend this book.
Understanding the Functions of Behavior For Teachers and Parents
If you have ever observed a child in a classroom, you will see that children respond to certain functions of behavior. The first functions of behavior that we should discuss is Dominance/Subordination. When children are dominant they win most of the instances. Children who are submissive always get rejected by their peers. Understanding the four functions of behavior here is essential for becoming a better teacher and teaching children effectively.
The second functions of behavior which are important for teachers and parents to observe are Attention, Conscientiousness, Imitation, and Support. Children with above average intelligence have above average attention to detail and are able to apply what they observe immediately. Children who are higher in imitating behavior have the ability to imitate after what they observe. Lastly, children with social-mediated attention have the ability to extend their attention in social situations while not getting distracted by what is around them.
The last three functions of behavior which are discussed here are Dominance/Subordination, Attention, and Support. When children fulfill the functions of behavior they are rewarded with positive reinforcement or consequences (e.g. in the form of affection). Positive reinforcement is a very powerful tool and will help children to make the correct decisions and solve complex problems. A model describes the functions of behavior thus giving teachers and parents an understanding of how to best structure and use lessons to help children grow and develop appropriately.