Stimulus Control and Self-Reinforcement 

Read the sections on Stimulus Control and Self-Reinforcement

1. Describe a poor health behavior of yours, and an alternative good health behavior that you would like to develop or strengthen instead (i.e., replacing “spending too much time watching cat videos” with “more studying”). (You can make the health behaviors up if you’re perfect and don’t have any poor health behaviors.)

2. Using stimulus-control interventions, what discriminative stimuli would you remove from your environment to decrease the poor health behavior, and what new discriminative stimuli would you introduce to your environment to increase the frequency of the alternative good health behavior?

3. Using self-reinforcement, what is one positive reinforcer you would use to increase the frequency of the good health behavior? What is one negative reinforcer you would use to increase the frequency of the good health behavior? Remember, positive and negative reinforcers have to be new things that you’re intentionally giving yourself or taking away from yourself after you do the target behavior. We can’t just list things that were already happening or could happen if you did the target behavior (i.e., “Positive reinforcer – If I study I get better grades” would not be a good example since that’s a reinforcer that was already in place before you started your self-reinforcement plan.). After all, if the already-existing reinforcers were effective, you would already be doing the good health behavior!

4. Using self-punishment, what is one positive punisher you would use to decrease the frequency of the poor health behavior? What is one negative punisher you would use to decrease the frequency of the poor health behavior? Likewise, these have to be new punishments, not ones that were already happening or could happen if you did the poor health behavior. In other words, “Positive punishment – I feel guilty if I don’t study” would not be a good example because that was already happening. If it was an effective punisher, you would already be studying!

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