1 Self Management


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“Self-Management” The personal application of behavior change tactics that produces a desired change in behavior Examples??? Why not “self-control”?

Applications of Self-Management:

Applications of Self-Management Living a more effective and efficient daily life e.g., shopping list Breaking bad habits and acquiring good ones Baum (2005) – impulsivity, bad habits, and procrastination result from reinforcement traps Immediate but smaller consequences control our behavior rather than delayed but more significant consequences Malott (1984) – being able to state a rule about the long-term consequences does not always control our behavior – why? Weak rules describe outcomes that are delayed, incremental, and/or unpredictable Self-management is a way to provide short term outcomes that will control behavior when weak rules and delayed outcomes do not!

Applications of Self-Management:

Applications of Self-Management Accomplishing Difficult Tasks e.g., thesis, lit review Achieving Personal Goals e.g., exercise, relaxation

Benefits of Self-Management:

Benefits of Self-Management Can be used to change… thoughts and feelings behaviors that cannot be easily observed by others behaviors that might go unnoticed by others Can be used to promote generalization and maintenance of behavior change People with diverse abilities can learn self-management skills Self-selected tasks performance criteria may lead to better performance

Benefits of Self-Management:

Benefits of Self-Management It’s an ultimate goal of education “The development of independent, self-directed people who are capable of behaving appropriately and constructively without the supervision of others” (p. 583) Dewey (1939) – “the ideal aim of education is the creation of self-control” Expected, but not often specifically taught! Benefits society by foregoing immediate reinforcers in favor of very delayed outcomes (e.g., global warming) Helps a person feel free (not bound by immediate consequences)

Self-Management Software for Children:

Self-Management Software for Children KidTools and KidSkills Developed with partial funding by the DOE OSEP Download for free at http://kidtools.missouri.edu Kidspiration

Antecedent-Based Self-Management Tactics:

Antecedent-Based Self-Management Tactics Manipulating MOs Person behaves in a way that creates an MO The MO then evokes or abates behavior e.g., eating before grocery shopping e.g., drinking tea to quit smoking Providing Response Prompts

Antecedent-Based Self-Management Tactics:

Antecedent-Based Self-Management Tactics Performing the Initial Steps of a Chain e.g., leaving the open bag on the counter… Removing Items Necessary for an Undesired Behavior Limiting Undesired Behavior to Restricted Stimulus Conditions e.g., reducing stereotypy or sexual behavior in public Dedicating a Specific Environment for a Desired Behavior e.g., studying with the peach candle…


Self-Monitoring Self-recording, self-observation Person observes his behavior systematically and records the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a target behavior Monitoring alone can change behavior! Can be combined with Self-Evaluation Compares performance with a goal or standard Can be combined with contrived consequences for meeting or not meeting goals Why does self-monitoring work? Covert statement “I did well!” self-reinforces performance Performing below standard produces guilt that can be avoided by improving your performance

Guidelines for Self-Monitoring:

Guidelines for Self-Monitoring Provide materials that make it easy Wrist counters, timers, stop watches Simple datasheets Provide supplementary cues or prompts Tones, MotivAider Use more prompts in the beginning and gradually decrease Self-monitor the most important dimension of the target behavior Frequency, rate, latency, inter response time, duration Productivity more effective and preferred than on-task Self-monitor early and often Record as soon as possible but don’t interrupt the behavior to do it Use permanent products if possible Record the first step in the chain if possible Monitor more in the beginning Reinforce accurate self-monitoring Spot check and reinforce accuracy But perfect accuracy may not be necessary!

Self-Administered Consequences:

Self-Administered Consequences To Increase Desired Behavior Positive Reinforcement It amounts to arranging for a reward for achieving a goal Examples: Making music with positive reinforcement To become a permanent guitar player you play it at least a half hour each day Negative Reinforcement To get an aversive event to stop as a result of a response It often takes the form of worrying and feeling guilty Examples: To improve studying with positive reinforcement, you let yourself do something fun after you studied. To improve studying with negative reinforcement, you have to make yourself feel bad until you start studying

Self-Administered Consequences:

Self-Administered Consequences To Decrease Undesired Behavior Positive Punishment or Punishment by Application An aversive stimulus is enacted following a response to decrease the frequency of that response. Punishment is effective only if it’s administered immediately, following every response, and at high intensity. Examples: Starting punishment to stop unwanted thoughts. You might end up punishing yourself excessively

Self-Administered Consequences:

Self-Administered Consequences Negative Punishment or Punishment by Withdrawal Instead of punishing aggressively, reinforcing on peaceful solutions You could stand to have withdrawn for a while It has fewer undesirable side effects than positive punishment

Guidelines for Self-Administered Consequences:

Guidelines for Self-Administered Consequences Select small, easy-to-deliver consequences Set a meaningful but easy-to-meet criterion for reinforcement Eliminate “bootleg reinforcement” If necessary, put someone else in control of delivering consequences Keep it simple

Other Self-Management Tactics:

Other Self-Management Tactics Self-Instruction Self-generated verbal responses, covert or overt, that function as response prompts for a desired behavior e.g., student is taught to say to himself, “If I wait, I’ll get to have _________.” Self-directed Systematic Desensitization Substituting one behavior, usually relaxation, for the unwanted behavior i.e., fear/anxiety Sensitization To apply a safe procedure for reducing or eliminating problems.

Guidelines for Conducting an Effective Self-Management Program:

Guidelines for Conducting an Effective Self-Management Program Specify a goal and define the target behavior Begin self-monitoring the behavior to obtain baseline And to observe effects of self-monitoring alone Create contrived contingencies that will compete with ineffective natural contingencies Go public Get a self-management partner Continually evaluate and redesign program as needed A-B and changing criterion designs

Mastering Self-Management:

Mastering Self-Management

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