Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is the deliberate modification of human behavior using various learning-theory-based strategies, notably in clinical psychology. The area of psychology known as behavior modification focuses on analyzing and changing human behavior.
Behavior Modification Sociology Definition


Behavior modification is the deliberate modification of human behavior using various learning-theory-based strategies, notably in clinical psychology. The area of psychology known as behavior modification focuses on analyzing and changing human behavior.

Understanding the causes of behavior or figuring out why someone acted a certain way requires analysis, establishing the functional link between environmental events and specific behavior. Modifying refers to creating and putting into place practices that assist individuals in changing their behavior. It entails changing environmental circumstances to affect behavior.

Professionals create behavior modification techniques to alter socially appropriate and society-approved behaviors to enhance a person’s quality of life.


The goal of behavior modification theory is to change behavior. It is a systematic approach to changing behavior using conditioning concepts. Classical conditioning, or learning by association, and operant conditioning, or learning by reinforcement, are the foundations of the behavior modification paradigm.

The foundation of behavior modification is that certain problematic behaviors result from incorrect learning and that the best way to address them is by relearning or retraining people’s responses.


The idea of conditioning is used in behavior modification. Learning may take the form of conditioning. Operant conditioning and classical conditioning are the two primary forms of conditioning.

A specific stimulus or signal is required for classical conditioning. An illustration of this would be if a family member visited your kitchen each time you prepared cookies due to the mouthwatering aroma. Operant conditioning is the second kind and employs a system of rewards and penalties. Dog trainers often use this method to reward a dog with a special treat when they comply with an instruction.


The techniques refer to several methods for consciously modifying human behavior based on organized learning.

The most common use of systematic desensitization is the treatment of phobias (irrational fears), which entails substituting the desired reaction for the undesirable one (fear) (relaxation). This is accomplished gradually (and methodically) by first exposing the feared item or circumstance in the least terrifying way possible. At the same time, the subject is still calm and then progressively increases the exposure while preserving relaxation. A feeling of accomplishment, self-control and the prospect of a less constrained way of life all serve as reinforcers that keep the enhanced responses in place.

In institutions like mental hospitals or other healthcare facilities, token economies are often utilized to regulate patient behavior. This method includes rewarding people with tokens when they engage in desirable behaviors, including bathing, dressing, cleaning up after themselves, being friendly, and speaking rationally. A system known as a token economy is used in behavior modification to reward children for good conduct. The tokens are then swapped for benefits like days out or other treats the patient or convict finds appealing.

Aversion therapy, which employs the principle of negative reinforcement, is the third method of behavior modification. For example, imagine implanting a substance that triggers vomiting when alcohol is consumed in the stomachs of alcoholics.

Pairing a good stimulus with behavior is known as positive reinforcement. When instructors give their pupils stickers for achieving excellent grades, it is a good illustration of this. Dog training also often makes use of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement involves associating a click with desirable behavior and subsequently rewarding with a reward.

The inverse, known as negative reinforcement,  strengthens certain actions by eliminating some kind of unpleasant consequence. An excellent example would be a youngster who gets their veggies taken away after having a tantrum because they don’t want to eat them. Second Example – Think about being in a relationship where you are really envious. You always worry about your partner’s infidelity, to the point that it’s hard for you to focus on anything else. One day, you learn that you can follow your partner’s whereabouts on their phone. Doing this may make you confident that your spouse is not having an affair.

By associating an unpleasant sensation with a behavior, punishment aims to diminish that behavior. Detention is a wonderful example of punishment for misbehavior.

Flooding is humans’ intense and quick exposure to fear-inspiring things or circumstances. A case of flooding would be making someone who fears snakes hold one for ten minutes.

Extinction is the elimination of all potential sources of reward for behavior. This is a vital technique that is effective, particularly with small children. There are several types of extinction, including Tangible Extinction, in which the kid is denied access to an activity or object they would want to participate in, and Escape extinction, in which the child is prevented from avoiding or escaping an activity or person they would prefer not to. Extinction is utilized to cut down unwanted actions, including yelling, tantrums, and saliva play.

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