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Oct 19, 2023

Assignment: Defining Behavior

Clear and operationally defined behaviors are important for the field of behavior analysis for several reasons. Clear definitions are necessary to replicate findings and to determine the accuracy of data. This replication and accuracy are key in providing the field with credible research. After developing observable and measurable behavior definitions, we can take a deeper look at the environmental variables that influence those behaviors and categorize those behaviors in a meaningful way.

Review the following scenarios and complete the following prompts below.

Scenario one

Shayla is in math class. As her teacher goes over the assignment of the day Shayla starts to disrupt the class. The teacher calls her name and asks her to stop the disruptive behavior. Shayla starts to complete her math assignment.

Scenario two

Tom was at a work conference to learn about new software. During a break out group he recognized an old college friend and started acting unprofessionally. His friend laughed at his behavior but he missed the takeaways from the breakout group.

Scenario three

Enzo is two and receives early intervention services. During a session he spots his sippy cup and starts to tantrum. His caregiver approaches him and asks him what is wrong.


Use the Defining Behavior Template [DOCX] to complete the following:

For each scenario:

Question 1. Locate the subjective terms in bold (there is one in each scenario). How can you operationally define each of the three terms? These definitions should be specific, objective, and measurable.

Question 2. Describe the environmental contingencies surrounding each behavior (these are the antecedents and consequences).

Next, we are going to shift away from the scenarios. Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology from this week by doing the following:

Question 1. Analyze the differences and similarities between a response class and a stimulus class.
Question 2. Provide your own example of a stimulus class and response class from everyday life.

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