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All Kinds of Behaviors

Did you know there are many types of behaviors people demonstrate?

There are respondent, operant, and coercive behaviors. These can be seen from anyone in any environment.

Respondent behaviors are people's automatic responses. This can include salvation, changes in heart rate, changes in breathing, and even dilation of eyes. Respondent behaviors are part of classical conditioning.

Operant behaviors are learned behaviors based on consequences of reinforcement and punishment. These behaviors will either be more likely to occur or less likely to occur. For example, an autistic child communicates with an AAC device to request cookies. Every time the child communicates for cookies with their AAC device, a person will give them cookies. Therefore, the child will more likely communicate with their AAC device because they were reinforced for communicating. This form of communication should occur more often instead of temper tantrums, aggression, etc. Operant behaviors are part of operant conditioning.

Coercive behaviors are controlling behaviors that create unequal relationships. These are some specific types of coercive behaviors:

  • Sarcasm/teasing – making fun of your child/student or their behavior.

  • Threats – threatening negative consequences.

  • Bribery – when a person is engaging in inappropriate behavior, making an offer for a desired item/task upon them stopping the inappropriate behavior.

  • Logic – a person providing an explanation (using two or more statements) as an attempt to end the behavior.

  • Force (physical or verbal) - A person causing pain or creating fear in the person to get them to engage in or stop a behavior.

  • Taking items/activities away – a person removing a desired item/activity from another person without a plan in place

All of these behaviors are also forms of communication people show. Do you have any questions about all of these behaviors? Share your questions in the comments section!


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