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Introduction to the Science of Behavior (Part 3)

[EN Symbol Only] Intro to Science of behavior (Part 3).png

Potentiating Variable





Tegistration for this group class is closed.

This group class is all about the motivation of the behavior. The big questions we typically have are: How can we make the behavior more likely to happen? How can we make a consequence more effective? How can we make the cue or antecedent more salient? What kinds of procedures are there to do these?

Class Description

Deprivation and satiation are two procedures that are well described. However, there are more procedures than these two procedures. The Blue Books, also known as Goldiamond's Functional Analysis of Behavior, written by Dr. Israel Goldiamond and Donald Thompson, refer to procedures that motivate and make behavior more likely to occur as "potentiating variables."

This 4-week group class will explore various types and procedures of potentiating variables. Potentiating variables look at what we can do to make a stimulus function as an effective or potent reinforcer, and what we can do to make the behavior more likely to happen under a specific occasion. Deprivation and satiation are one of the types of potentiating variables. There are many different types of potentiating variables!


We will explore the difference between drive theory, motivating operation, and potentiating variables, learn about different types and procedures of potentiating variables, and speculate on the effect of the organism and their behavior in each kind of potentiating variable (ethical problems, coercion, etc.). You will not only learn to analyze behavior through a contingency (occasion, behavior, and consequence) but also through potentiating variables that influence the contingency. The content of the class will add your knowledge and skills in understanding and analyzing behavior, and implementing various behavior change programs to achieve our training goals!

■ Learning Objectives 

  • Define potentiating variable 

  • Describe the difference between motivating operation, drive theory, and potentiating variable

  • Describe all the procedures of potentiation variable taught in the class​

  • Speculate the effects of each procedure of potentiating variables on the organism and their behaviors including ethical problems

  • Given various examples, identify the procedure used to potentiate occasion and behavior relation

  • Given various scenarios, speculate on ways to potentiate occasion and behavior relation

  • Given various scenarios, speculate on ways to de-potentiate occasion and behavior relation

  • [Cumulative knowledge] Given various scenarios, speculate on ways to increase occasion and behavior relation through variables including potentiating variables, consequences, and schedules of reinforcement

■ Main Textbook

Goldiamond, I., & Thompson, D. (2004). The blue books: Goldiamond & Thompson’s The Functional Analysis of Behavior, P. T. Andronis (Ed.). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. (Original work published in 1967)

You can purchase the book from here

■ Group Class Dates


■ Acknowledgement

The design of this group class was advised by Dr. T.V. Joe Layng

We thank Dr. Layng for his wonderful feedback throughout the development of the class materials.


■ Instructors

Sean Will, MS

Maasa Nishimuta, MS


■ Prerequisite

Before taking the Part 3 group class, it is recommended to have taken or watch the Introduction to the Science of Behavior Part 1 and Part 2 classes. This class accumulates knowledge from Part 1 and Part 2 group classes. The recordings for Part 1 and 2 are available for free in CAAWT Membership

​■ Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the group classes, please feel free to contact us! 

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