Posted: November 25th, 2022

Psy 7710 and psy 7711

reply to both of these posts by your classmates.

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PSY 7711     12 hours agoShanna Grogg Unit 2 Discussion 1COLLAPSE

In my work with clients, while I have most often used topography-based definitions of behavior, function-based definitions have definitely been a useful tool as well. According to Cooper et al. (2020), it is important for the behavior analyst to understand the difference between these two ways of defining behavior, and what the particular strengths and limitations are for each. Additionally, these authors caution against using topography alone to target behaviors for change (Cooper et al., 2020). According to the Professional and Ethical Code for Behavior Analysts (BACB, 2020), behavior analysts must first conduct a functional assessment (Code 3.01 Behavior-Analytic Assessment). This requires behavior analysts to consider contextual variables in determining socially significant behaviors of concern as the targets for intervention and treatment; code 2.09 which requires treatment and intervention efficacy supports this as well as other codes such as 4.03 (BACB, 2020). 

In contrast to function-based definitions, topographical definitions describe how behaviors look (describe their topography) in objective and measurable terms that identify behaviors by their shape or form, by the way they look and appear to the outside observer (Cooper et al., 2020). Topography-based definitions are most useful to describe all instances of a response class by its form when the behavior’s impact on the environment varies, is unknown, or when other behaviors produce the same impact on the environment (Cooper et al., 2020). A topographical definition could be used to describe a client’s avoidant behaviors by the way it looks: “Avoidant behaviors are denoted by any instance of Johnny looking away from the paper, interrupting contact of the pencil from the paper for more than 3 seconds, engaging in alternative behaviors where his line of vision wanders from the page and rests on an alternative object for more than 2 seconds, yelling, screaming, rocking, and getting up from his desk.” In this description, various forms the behavior can take are described, based on the way the behaviors look. Fisher et al. (2020), in their study teaching ABA skills to parents of children with autism, operationally defined target behaviors topographically. For example, they defined aggression as “lightly hitting or kicking the parent with their body or objects.” 

Function-based definitions of behavior describe behaviors by their consequences on the environment (Cooper et al., 2020). Function-based definitions are useful to describe behaviors when the consequence of the behavior on the environment is understood and when it remains consistent across all targeted responses (Cooper et al., 2020). In a functional definition, the outcome or function of the behavior is the most relevant detail to discern the behavior from other alternatives. For example, a functional definition of avoidant behavior might describe it as follows: “Avoidant behavior is defined by every instance where a request or prompt is not attempted or executed to completion.” In this example, the behavior in question is defined by its function and its consequences on the environment, rather than its form or how it looks. As this example demonstrates, a benefit of a functional definition is its conciseness relative to a topographical definition.

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Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020). Professional and ethical compliance code for behavior analysts. Littleton, CO: Author.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.

Fisher, W.W., Luczynski, K.C., Blowers, A.P., Vosters, M.E., Pisman, M.D., Craig, A.R., Hood, S.A., Machado, M.A., Lesser, A.D. and Piazza, C.C. (2020), A randomized clinical trial of a virtual‐training program for teaching applied‐behavior‐analysis skills to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 53: 1856-1875.

PSY 7710

12 hours agoLavergne Flournoy U2D1 PROMPT 1COLLAPSE

“Analyzing complex ethics cases require special consideration by behavior analysts (Baliey&Burch, 2016).” Scenario one explains ABA practitioner dilemma of understanding the ethical codes of ABA in seeking what is right or wrong. She explained that the agency she worked for billed for behavioral services but performed a different type of service. She also stated that family did not report wrongful billing due to service provider continuing another service with client. In using the seven-step model to help this practitioner in viewing properly what to do in her case is step one: identifying if the incidents is covered by the ethics which is defined in codes (1.0-1.04, 2.05,2.09, 2.12 and 2.13)- responsibility to clients (BACB. 2020).

   Step two involves the “players” which include the practitioner, client, family, and company. This team involves everyone that is organized in the client’s situation. Third step is the contingency plan, “a thoughtful and strategic analysis of what to do in the event that your first action was unsuccessful (Bailey & Burch, 2016).” Plan A is considered that the ABA practitioner to notify BCBA about wrongful documentation. Plan B is considered to possibly inform the family of their child’s rights and their rights as advocates for their child in receiving in proper therapy as well as, correct billing information. Step fourth mentions skills and clot, which allows behavior analyst to hold a set of essential skills and makes them happen. The fifth step is the risk; this explains the possibility of the practitioner failing to act in doing what right or wrong in following respectful content with self, client, and others. The sixth step is describes the implementation; which means be to continue to execute information efficiently as possible. The last step to assist with this scenario is the evaluation. Note taking information on ethical cases that have been confronted can help with future ethical dilemmas. (Bailey & Burch, 2016)


Bailey, J., & Burch, M. (2016). Ethics for behavior analysts. ProQuest Ebook


Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020) Ethic codes for behavior analyst. Litteton, CO: (2020, December 28). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from

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