Links to Videos

John F. Kennedy University



Learning and Cognition

Fall, 2008

October 7 – December 16

Dr. Steven A. Del Chiaro


Contact Information
Email:                            Phone: 408.874.7741

Office Hours: For this course, I will be available one hour after class, Tuesdays from 6:30 till 7:30 pm
Office hours are “drop in” times and are on a first come, first served basis. If you cannot make these times, you can call, e-mail, or see me after class to set an appointment.  I want to be available to you.  During office hours we can discuss questions about the course, psychology as a career, or topics of interest to you.  Please understand that I, just like you, have a busy schedule, but will do my best to be available.

If you send me an e-mail, I will usually get back to you within 24 hours and I will always respond to let you know that I have received your message.  As a general rule, if you do not hear from me, chances are I did not get the message, so you need to re-send it. 

Course Description

Through learning, humans and animals share a capacity to adapt to ever changing demands in the environment.  Attempts to understand these processes form a cornerstone of experimental psychology. Theories from this basic research have contributed to applications and further theory development in many other areas of psychology (e.g. clinical, social and education). This is an introduction to the study of learning and behavior and focuses on the Behavioral Perspective as a way of improving our understanding of human behavior and how it is shaped. 

The course will focus on two types of learning:  Classical and Operant conditioning, and look at how cognition plays a role in learning.  Students can have a life-changing experience in this course, because it provides the basis for new ways of approaching common life challenges such as disciplining children, maintaining positive marriages and other relationships, and procrastination (to name just a few).  The material is intellectually challenging at times, but well worth the effort required to learn to think like a Behaviorist!   

Learning Outcomes


The primary goal of this course will be to help you develop an understanding of the major themes, issues, and methods recognized within the psychology of learning and cognition. The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the basic principles of the leaning process. You will discover the learning processes that allow us to know how and when to act in order to obtain desired pleasurable aspects of our environment and to avoid unwanted unpleasant ones.

Competencies and Performance Indicators:

The competencies listed below shall be demonstrated and assessed through class discussion, exams (comprised of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions) and simulation lab reports.

  1. Understand the science of learning.
    1. Demonstrate an appreciation of the empirical foundation of the study of learning.
    2. Be familiar with research techniques and findings that illustrate fundamental learning concepts.
  2. Differentiate between various theories of learning and memory.
    1. Be able to understand and differentiate between theories.
    2. Be able to cite evidence supporting the views of major theorists.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to apply the concepts learned in the course to concrete examples:
    1. Be able to apply learning principles to real world phenomena.
    2. Conduct research to demonstrate knowledge aquired.

Required Texts

I realize there is an updated text.  Either will do.

Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & MacDonald, S. E.  (2002).  Introduction to Learning & Behavior.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

The Powell text comes with some ancillaries that should help you learn more about human learning.  Access to the web site is available at: (click on link to student resources, and then our textbook).

Additional Readings:

There are extensive reading assignments listed in the course outline. Additional reading assignments will be made throughout the course as warranted.

Student Responsibilities

Syllabus Policy:

The course syllabus presented in this document will be followed as closely as possible. However, the course syllabus, schedule, policies, and procedures are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor or in the event of extenuating circumstances. This includes the tentative dates listed. Possible changes will be announced in advance by the instructor as if possible. Since such announcements are typically made during class, it is the student’s responsibility to clarify any of these changes that may have been made when the student is absent.

Although you will be responsible for all of the material in the assigned readings, some of the information may not be covered in class. Therefore, if there is material that is unclear to you it is highly recommended that you discuss this material with me at an appropriate time (e.g., during office hours). It is your responsibility to read the syllabus and ask questions about it so that you have a clear understanding of the expectations. If you are unclear about any of the requirements/expectations, then please set up a time to speak with me. I will be grading as though you have a clear understanding of the course requirements and material.


In accordance with JFKU policy, I will be taking attendance. You are adults and need to make your own decisions.  Please realize that your decisions have consequences (If this makes no sense to you then it is a good thing you are enrolled in Learning and Cognition, because you will understand through operant conditioning that behaviors have consequences!).  Students are responsible for everything that is said and done in class. I strive to make my classes not only educational but also enjoyable. It is important to note that it is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course they do not wish to take. If you simply stop coming to the class and do not withdraw from the course, then you will still receive a grade that will be based on the completed work. Additionally, I encourage students to arrive on time for the class. However, I understand that extenuating circumstances do arise that can prevent your diligent efforts toward punctuality. If you are late to class, please take a seat in the row of desks/seats closest to the door in order to prevent disruption to the class. I hope you will take advantage of this policy only when absolutely necessary.  I do have a small portion of your grade based on participation, tardiness affects participation.  Many important pieces of information are discussed in class, and students are responsible for knowing and complying with this information including changes in assignments. Please make appropriate adjustments to your schedule to allow for arrival to the class on time (e.g., arriving early to avoid traffic/parking problems).

Classroom Courtesy and Disruptions:

Class disruptions are not tolerated. Students will be asked to leave if they are being disruptive to fellow students or the professor. Disruptions include but are not limited to cell phones and pagers going off for any reason (even accidental), TEXTING (yes, I still see it if you hold the phone under your desk during class!), talking when not participating in an instructor- assigned activity, and not paying attention (e.g., reading the newspaper, sleeping). In addition, please place electronic communication devices (e.g., pagers, cell phones) in the “off” position during class. If you must make or answer a call, please excuse yourself from class for such activity.  In accordance with university policies on student conduct, it is expected that you will treat other students and the instructor with courtesy and respect. Being on the phone and texting ARE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT RESPECTFUL!  Additionally, this class is conducted where you have wireless Internet access, please do not “surf’ the web.  You may use your computer to take notes, but you must sit in the back of the classroom or along the wall with your screen out of other students view.  In addition, if I or other students deem “keyboard noise” distracting, you will have to stop using the computer. This policy is in existence so that you do not distract me or other students.  I reserve the right to ask you to put the computer away at any time.  Failure to do so may result in you being asked to leave the classroom and dropped from the course.

You are responsible for understanding the dates, policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, fee payment, withdrawal and so forth.

Diversity Statement:

Consistent with the mission of John F. Kennedy University, I welcome persons of differing backgrounds and experiences including but not limited to age, disability and health status, ethnicity and race, family structure, geographic region, language, religious/spiritual and secular beliefs, resident status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and socioeconomic status.

It is my goal to foster an environment in which diversity is recognized and embraced and every person is treated with dignity, respect, and justice. I hope that your academic experience in this course and at San Jose State University will provide the opportunity to gain knowledge and experiences necessary to thrive in a diverse, global environment.

Taking Notes:

Since a portion of the lectures will not come from the assigned readings, taking lecture notes is very important. Coming to class prepared (e.g., thoroughly reading the assigned material) and paying close attention to lecture will benefit the student. Preparation through reading the assigned material will help the student with taking notes during class as the student will recognize some of the material as coming from the readings and as a result will not need to take copious notes on that portion.  Should you happen to miss a class, you are welcome to obtain notes from a peer in the course. Also, please ask your peers in the course if you “missed anything important” and not the instructor. This question is considered rude by most professors including myself. It is important to note that those students who regularly attend class tend to do significantly better in the course.


This course involves extensive use of the Internet for student research and assigned readings. All students are required to have access to the Internet via some means as well as an active/current e-mail address.  If you do not have a computer or access to the Internet, you can use the computers in the computer lab on campus.



Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Behavior Analysis Resources

Weekly Topics, Activities and Assignments: (Tentative Schedule- subject to modification)








Class Business/Syllabus


October 7

Classical and Operant Video

Video Sheet





Classical and Operant Video

Video Sheet

October 14


Chapter 1





Research Methods

Chapter 2

October 21

Elicited Behaviors and

Chapter 3


Classical Conditioning






Classical Conditioning: Basic

Chapter 4

October 28

Self-Change Paper Assignment 1






Classical Conditioning: Under

Chapter 5

November 4

Examination #1/Change Agent Proposal Due






Operant Conditioning: Intro

Chapter 6

November 11


Operant Conditioning: Schedules

Self-Change Paper Assignment 2 Due

Chapter 7





Extinction and Stimulus Control

Chapter 8

November 18

Reinforcement Exercise Due or

Physical Punishment Exercise Due






Escape, Avoidance, and Punishment

Chapter 9

November 25

Examination #2






Choice, Matching, and Self-Control

Chapter 10

December 2

Biological Dispositions in Learning

Chapter 11





Observational Learning, Language, Rule

Chapter 12

December 9

Catch up






Self Change Paper/Behavioral Journal Due


December 16




Exams will be multiple-choice, short-answer and fill in.  The tests will have questions from the text, lectures and videos.  Each exam will be given during the lecture period, and you will have the first half of the class period to complete the exam.  Students will not be allowed to use the restroom during the exam period and cell phone use during a test, or test review, will result in referral to Judicial Affairs and receive a course grade of F/NC.  There will be NO Rescheduling of an exam.

In Class Quizzes:

At 6 points during the semester a quiz will be given.  These quizzes will cover the text reading and will be aimed at helping you understand and think about the material covered.  Your four best quizzes will constitute 20 points towards your final grade. This means that two quizzes can be missed or dropped.  There will be no make-ups for quizzes.


Plagiarism is the presentation of words, ideas or views of someone else as if they were one’s own. Plagiarism is intellectual dishonesty and, as such, is a serious academic offense. The potential penalties range from an unsatisfactory grade in the course (an ‘F” or ‘no credit’), a letter of sanction placed in the student’s permanent academic file, or even dismissal from the university. Plagiarism includes:

bullet passing off another’s written work as your own
bullet failing to give credit to your sources for the ideas, information, and words you have borrowed from them
bulletnot quoting when you use another’s exact  words
bulletnot  changing the wording or sentence structure significantly enough when you paraphrase a source

Incomplete Policy

An Incomplete (I) grade is given only to a student who has maintained satisfactory attendance and work throughout most of the course but, due to extraordinary circumstances, is unable to complete the required work by the end of the quarter. The granting of an ”I” grade is at the discretion of the instructor and must be approved by the dean. It is the student’s responsibility to provide an incomplete grade form and to request an “I” from the instructor in writing prior to the last class meeting, stating briefly but specifically the reasons for the request. The due date to complete work is determined by the instructor but may not exceed two quarters.

Disability Accommodations

If you need accommodations for this class due to a documented disability, please see Lisa Noshay-Petro in the Office of Disability Services for Students (ODS) in Room S220, 925.969.3447, All students who need accommodations should meet with the ODS early in the quarter, and utilize the support services they offer. Accommodations cannot be made until students are registered with the ODS, and have received an Accommodation letter. All information is kept confidential. 

Academic Support Center (ASC)

The ASC provides once a week session in instruction in writing, study skills, and APA citation style. Appointments can be held in person or via phone, fax or email. Students who are registered with the Office of Disability Services are entitled to 2 appointments per week. All ASC services are free to registered students, faculty, and staff. Students can make an appointment by calling 925.969.3530 or emailing


Grading will be based on the sum of the following: 

  1. 3 exams covering lectures, films, guest speakers, outside readings and the text are worth 100 points each (300). 
  2. Four quizzes will be worth 5 points each (20). 
  3. Reinforcement/ Physical punishment exercise will be worth 30 points (30)
  4. Self-Change project will be worth 90 points (90)
  5. Behavioral Journal will be worth 10 points (10)

Total: 450 possible points.

The grade scale is as follows:



94 – 100%



77 – 79%




90 – 93%



73 – 76%




87 – 89%



70 – 72%




83 – 86%



67 – 69%




80 – 82%



60 – 66%



                F     =

   0 – 59%


If you have read this far, take advantage of your good student habits and earn your only extra credit points in the class. You will get five (5) points of extra credit if you come by my office some time before the first exam and introduce yourself to me and tell me a little about yourself (to get extra credit, you need to introduce yourself to me in my office EVEN if I already know who you are). Even if you miss the deadline for extra credit, I still strongly encourage you to stop by and introduce yourself during the quarter. Finally, please do not be offended if I have to ask you for your name several times. It has nothing to do with how memorable you are as a person and everything to do with my less than perfect memory for names.

Writing Projects:

This semester there will be two projects:  The Self Change Project, the Reinforcement Exercise OR the Physical Punishment Exercise.  All of these assignments will be kept in your Behavior Journal. I WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE WORK.  An assignment is considered late if a hard copy is not turned in by the end of the class period it is due.  I do not accept electronic copies of assignments.

Structure for Assignments

  1. ALL OF YOUR WORK NEEDS TO BE PUT IN YOUR BEHAVIORAL JOURNAL.  The order inside your journal (which will be a paper folder – see class example)

1)      Cover page.

2)      Divider 1 labeled “Video Sheet”

3)      Video Sheet

4)      Divider 2 labeled “Self Change Project”

5)      Self Change Paper

6)      Self Change handout

7)      Self- Change Behavioral Checklist 1

8)      Change Agent Proposal

9)      Self- Change Behavioral Checklist 2

10)  Self- Change Behavioral Checklist 3 (if applicable)

11) Divider 3 labeled "Reinforcement Exercise"

13)  Reinforcement Exercise and Article Summaries on Reinforcement. OR

14)  Divider 3 labeled “Punishment Exercise”

15)  Punishment Exercise and Article Summaries on Punishment.

16)  Divider 4 labeled “Feedback”

17)  Feedback sheet provided by instructor

  1. Your papers need be organized - you should be developing a central idea in each section and the reader should be able to follow the logic of your argument.  Each paragraph should have a coherent theme and paragraphs should follow each other in an organized manner. Read over your papers to be sure that there is a logical order to them. 
  1. Watch for grammatical errors, particularly sentence fragments and run-on sentences. More than five spelling or grammatical errors will result in points deducted from final grades.  More than ten will result in a zero (0).  I encourage you to have your paper proof read.
  1. Your papers will be typewritten, double-spaced, one-inch margins, using Times New Roman (or VERY similar) font.
  1. On a sheet attached to the front of your Journal, type the Title of your paper. In addition you must include Name, Course, Course Number, Quarter/Year, and Due Date.
  1. Citations/references included in your paper are to be done according to APA style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th Edition, which is available in the library, the campus bookstore, and on-line.  You should have at least 2 references for every paper and they will be listed on a separate sheet of paper attached to the back of your assignment.

Learning and Cognition Writing Assignments :

1.  Choose either the Reinforcement exercise of the Punishment exercise.

Reinforcement Exercise : Due  For this exercise, go to the following link ( and follow the directions.  Complete the practice exercise.  At the end of the exercise, print out your answer sheet.  In addition, write at least a one page reaction paper to the exercise, noting what you learned about positive reinforcement.  Lastly, access a psychological journal (JABA) and find two current articles relating to positive reinforcement and write an article summary for each article.

Punishment Exercise:  Due April 4.  Read the Baumrind (2001) Does Causally Relevant Research Support a Blanket Injunction Against Disciplinary Spanking by Parents? article which can be found at

This paper is somewhat more difficult to read, so here are some notes to help you (including which sections you don’t need to read); page numbers refer to the numbers at the bottom of the pages, and do not include the title page:

1.   A little background: psychologists and nonpsychologists have taken an anti-spanking position regarding the discipline of children (e.g., see  It has been argued that research has shown negative outcomes as a result of spanking, such as increased aggression, poor mental health, and poor parent-child relationships.  Note that this position requires a cause-and-effect conclusion about the spanking-behavior relationships: that spanking causes bad outcomes.  Diana Baumrind argues in this paper that the research others have cited is not “causally relevant”; that it cannot be used to support cause-and-effect conclusions.  In her study she tests the idea that occasional (“normative”) spanking has negative effects, and asks whether evidence supports a blanket injunction against all spanking.  (Note: Baumrind states that she does not advocate spanking, she just wanted to see if the evidence supports the idea that all spanking is harmful.)

2.   On page 2 (not counting the title page), Baumrind describes the characteristics that, she says, allow us to make cause-and-effect conclusions from correlational studies.  I don’t completely agree, but I do believe her results tell us something important.  The 3rd, 4th, and 7th might be kind of hard to understand, so don’t worry too much about them.  The 3rd and 7th points basically say that you need to include important parenting variables in the research, such as whether the parent emotionally rejects the child.

3.   Don’t read page 3.

4.   On p. 4, ‘n’ refers to the number of participants in the study.

5.   On p. 4 there is a reference to ‘Table 1 of your handout’.  The handouts are not included in the paper; they are available on Baumrind’s WWW page but we can get by without them (I’ll summarize the information we need).

6.   Skip the material from “Data Analyses” (p. 6) up until “(Question 1)” on p. 7.  Read the questions on pp. 7-9 and the conclusions based on data analyses.

      Quick summary of data analyses (p. 6): Baumrind started by seeing if the use of physical punishment (spanking) was related to bad child outcomes such as getting into fights and being untrustworthy.  Then she added other parenting variables to the analysis (e.g., self-centeredness), to see if these other variables might account for relationships between spanking and child outcomes.

7.   The section of the paper labeled “Question 3” might be difficult.  To summarize, Baumrind found that when she controlled for a variety of parenting variables, the relationship between physical punishment and bad child outcomes disappeared.

8.   Skip the section of the paper labeled “Question 6” (this doesn’t mean to skip my question #6).

Read the Baumrind (2001) paper (“Does Causally Relevant Research Support a Blanket Injunction Against Disciplinary Spanking by Parents?”) and respond to the following:

  1. Briefly describe the methods of the ‘FSP’ study (Who participated?  What did they do?) (see p. 4)
  2. How common was physical punishment (spanking) in the FSP study? (see p. 4)
  3. Was the frequency and intensity of physical punishment associated with detrimental child outcomes? (p. 7)
  4. Did Baumrind find that children who were occasionally spanked were worse off than children who were never spanked? (“Question 4”, p. 8)
  5. Did Baumrind find that physical punishment was associated with worse child outcomes than verbal punishment? (“Question 7”, p. 8)
  6. Do you think it is acceptable to spank children as a form of discipline?  Why or why not?  Please discuss in behavioral terms.   What limitations do you think there should be on spanking (when should it be used or not be used)?
  7. Lastly, access a psychological journal (JABA) and find two current articles relating to positive reinforcement and write an article summary for each article.

2. You must complete the Self-Change/Monitoring Project.

Ten (10) points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late.  An assignment is considered late if a hard copy is not turned in by the end of the class period it is due.

Due dates:


Tuesday, October 28

Self-Change Behavioral Checklist Assignment 1

Tuesday, November 4

Change Agent Proposal

Tuesday, November 11

Self-Change Behavioral Checklist Assignment 2

Tuesday, December 16

Self-Change Paper

Nobody's perfect. Some of us drive too fast, or too carelessly. Some of us want to recycle our newspapers, but never get around to it. We want to eat less and exercise more, but it just does not happen for us. We know some of our habits are bad for us (smoking, drinking) but we cannot cut back. 

Principles of learning offer a solution. B. F. Skinner's behaviorism, although developed through carefully controlled scientific laboratory research, can be used to help people increase behaviors that they desire and decrease behaviors they wish to avoid.

Use self-change principles to change some aspect of your behavior. Focus on some specific type of behavior that you would like to perform more (exercise, studying, being polite) or a behavior you would like to do less (partying, eating, drinking, being rude). (Some other examples of things students have tried to change are listed at the bottom of this handout). Record the behavior on the provided behavioral checklist for one week, without attempting any change.  Please note:

Please know that self-monitoring your behavior is difficult, but a task that can (and will) be completed. bullet      

Step 1:  Behavior Decision.

bulletDecide on the behavior you will increase or decrease
bulletWrite a paragraph description of the behavior, being as behaviorally specific as possible; express the goal of your project in observable, quantifiable terms.
bulletThese goals must be very specific, and include both long and short range (daily) goals--but most important, they must be measurable;
bulletYou can select those behaviors which you wish to do away with, non-desired goals as well as desired behaviors--but it would be best if you described behaviors that you want to increase (focus on creating behaviors that are incompatible with the behaviors you want to remove)

Step 2: Baseline 1.

bulletEstablish the baseline, the operant level: measure the frequency of both the good and the bad behavior before you try to create any changes:

                        *Measurement is critical in self-change projects, so begin by recording your behavior on the checklist.  Please note what is happing before during and after the selected behavior.

                        *Include the information about baseline in your report (If, for example, you were trying to study more you should say something like "On day one I spent 2.3 hours studying, on day two I did not study at all, and on day three I spent 1 hour studying).

bulletThe length of your baseline recording will be over a one-week period.
bulletYou also need to indicate where the behavior occurs; for example you might say "I decided to modify smoking behavior but I needed to know the situations which elicited smoking from me--so for 7 days I kept track of how much I smoked, when, and where."

Step 3: Design Behavioral Change

bulletSelect Sr (Reinforcing Stimulus) and design the contingencies.
bulletMake a list of the reinforcers that you have decided are potent and controllable for and by you.
bulletList these reinforcers or in your report, and note which one you plan to use to control the behavior.
bulletYou can also identify punishers: aversive stimuli that you would rather avoid. You will be using these to reduce behavior.

Types of reinforcers to consider:

bulletPhysical rewards: such as candy, food, drinks, etc.: thinks you want;
bulletSocial rewards: arrange for someone else to give you praise, attention, and so on if you perform the target behavior;
bulletActivities: things you like to do (such as watching TV, socializing, etc) that you cannot do if you don't perform the behavior;
bulletNote: It is often advisable to use a variety of reinforcers so you will not "burn out" on one.

Name the Contingencies:

bulletState the exact conditions under which these consequences are applied (e.g., If I study for 1 hour I will get 5 M&M candies).
bulletIf you plan to use punishment, then state those criteria as well (e.g., I did not meet my goal of studying for 3 hours and so the following day I did not permit myself to listen to any music).

Step 4: Intervention Stage.

bulletInstitute the Program of Behavior Modification. Begin controlling the behavior through judicious use of reinforcers and punishment. This period should last one week (use another self-monitoring check list for recording behavior).
bulletKeep good records: record the behavior and the reinforcers/punishments constantly.
bulletControl the "stimulus environment". It is essential that you can administer the reinforcers immediately after the behavior, and that you can reduce interference from reinforcers that you do not control. That means you should make changes in your routine to avoid temptations (e.g., tell other people about the project and ask them not to interfere).
bulletIf appropriate, post cues in your environment that will trigger your response: if you are supposed to be exercising more, then put up a sign in bedroom that says "Today you must exercise for 1 hour." (Describe your use of such a sign in your report).

Step 5: Follow up.

Because of time constraints, this step is optional, but would be used in any professional behavior modification project. Once the behavior has been created, you would return to baseline by stopping the rewards or punishments. This step is not necessary for this report. However, should you decide to complete this step, record your behavior on the checklist for one week.

Step 6: Write up the report

bulletPlease type the report. There are no length restrictions. Use the length that you feel is appropriate to exactly specify what you did.  The paper will have five sections:

1.      Introduction. 

2.      Literature review.

3.      Methodology.

4.      Results.

5.      Discussion.

bulletThe report can include charts and graphs of the behavior rates, but it should be a well-written narrative (with sentences and paragraphs).
bulletAdd a final paragraph that draws conclusions about the project.
bulletIn addition, please turn in all behavioral self-monitoring checklists.
bulletUse appropriate terms from the lectures and text.

Weaknesses or omissions or something incorrect with the following areas will result in a loss of points:

Step 1: Behavior Decision.

bulletDefine the problem in a situation in a paragraph. 
bullet Clearly state, "target behavior is..."

Step 2: Baseline .

bulletCollect baseline data.
bulletDescribe what is found.
bulletGraph the baseline data.

Step 3: Design Behavioral Change

bulletSelf-reinforcements listed, explained.
bulletSelf-punishments clearly indicated
bullet Reinforcement and/or punishments contingencies described (state contingencies, e.g., "If I exercise, then I will get a cookie).

Step 4: Intervention Phase.

bulletBehavior modification process described.
bulletData are provided describing the behavior modification results
bulletAttempts at stimulus control are noted
bulletFinal conclusion paragraph describing results

In Addition:

bulletAll checklists turned in (must be legible).
bulletProject Not as Well Organized as it Could Have Been.
bulletProject Not as Well Written as it Could Have Been.

Helpful Information:

Some sample behaviors that you can modify are listed at the end of this page. Also, if you would like more information on the psychology of self-control--especially the science side of self-control based on verified principles of behaviorism instead of that "pop" psychology stuff that is not really helpful at all--begin with Dr. Clay Tucker-Ladd page. He is the author of Psychological Self-help, which is available on the web at the following site:

Dr. Tucker reviews, in detailed, dozens of self-change methods, including:

bullet           Change the environment to change your behavior

bullet           Learn new behavior (using models, self-instructions)

bullet           Controlling/Conditioned response

bullet           Relapse prevention

bullet           Motivation training--increasing our drive level

bullet           Meet basic needs (so they won't get in the way)

bullet           Avoid self-deception--recognize your motives and defenses

bullet           Record behavior--self-monitor and check your progress

bullet           Record antecedents & consequences; behavioral analysis

bullet           Disrupt the unwanted habit; thought stopping

bullet           Substitute new behavior to break a bad habit

bullet           Satiate behavior or flooding; paradoxical intention

bullet           Change defeatist attitude; quieting the internal critic; flow

bullet           Develop positive expectations; building self-efficacy

bullet           Increase intrinsic satisfactions

bullet           Reward the desired behavior--a powerful method

bullet           Negative reinforcement--an important concept for insight

bullet           Self-punishment

bullet           Covert conditioning, punishment, and rewards

bullet           Extinction (no reinforcement)


Sample behaviors (All These Behaviors Have Been Used By Students)






Angry outbursts

Nail biting

Hair pulling

Being late to class


Weight Loss



Yelling at friends

Skipping class (decrease)

Criticizing others

Nose picking



Smuggling food into the bedroom and eating in bed

Smiling at people on campus (increase)


Shaving more often (written by a man)

Flossing daily

Drinking alcohol

Using drugs (of a variety of sorts)

Drinking sodas (decrease)

Drinking water (increase)

Compulsive horn blowing


Listening to music

Playing chess

Playing bridge

Eating peanut butter

Thinking negative thoughts

Watching video movies

Excessive television watching

Soap opera addiction

Over-sleeping (hitting the snooze button)

Picking lint from belly button

Dog wrestling (Playing with dog daily)

Knuckle/Toe Cracking

Picking scabs from head