FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY - TREATMENT PROGRAMMES - BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION

treatment programmes for offending - behaviour modification - forensic psychology

a2 psychology unit 3

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Treatment Programmes
Behaviour Modification
Why use behaviour modification?
Prison is meant to have a rehabilitative function
Behaviour modification utilises a learning theory approach based on a behaviourist approach
in psychology
What is meant by `token economy'?
Based on operant conditioning principles whereby reinforcement is given for acceptable
behaviour
Basic principles
1. Draw up a list of desirable behaviours, e.g. complying with rules, doing chores, engaging in
positive interactions
2. When appropriate behaviour is used, award a `token' (e.g. sticker): this is referred to as
selective reinforcement
3. Tokens can be exchanged for reinforcers, e.g. sweets, drinks, home visits
Note: undesirable behaviours are not reinforced and so should extinguish
Evaluation
Cullen and Seddon
Ethics: token economies inevitably involve manipulation of behaviour: arguably this is
unethical
Superficial: removing reinforcers often removes desirable behaviour. So any changes may
only be short term, e.g. whilst in the prison environment

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