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A Constructional Approach to the Use of Behavior Change Projects in Undergraduate Behavior Analysis Courses


One of the key challenges facing instructors of undergraduate introduction to behavior analysis courses is helping students learn to identify the environmental variables that control behavior. Goldiamond frequently employed exploratory and targeted logs to help his clients understand the environmental controlling variables that supported their behavior. We describe a preliminary analysis of the use of adaptations of Goldiamond’s exploratory logs in the context of a behavior change project incorporated in several undergraduate introductory behavior analysis courses across three semesters. Three “levels” of exploratory logs were created in which students were asked to record an increasing number of the components of the three-term contingency. Students were also asked to answer the question, “why did this behavior occur” for each behavior reported. In the first semester, students received feedback on their exploratory logs through an online course management system and in the subsequent two semesters students received feedback on their exploratory logs during class periods. Each level of the students’ exploratory logs was scored according to the type of explanation (e.g., explanatory fiction, behavioral) students provided for the behavior. The results show that the combination of the behavior change project and in-class feedback promoted more behavioral explanations for the behaviors recorded than the combination of the behavior change project and feedback provided through the online, course management system.

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  1. 1.

    See Cihon et al. (2018) for a complete description of each of the course components.

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    Lectures and readings were based on Ledoux (2014) in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters and were based on Ledoux (2017) in the Fall 2017 semester.

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    Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters.

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    Fall 2017 semester.

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    Vocal checkouts are available from the first author.


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The authors thank Erica Foss and Nolan Williams for their contributions to this research along with Ellie Lovitz, Micahela Smith, Staci Pine, and Scott Robinson for their assistance with coding the data.

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Correspondence to Traci M. Cihon.

Ethics declarations

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. The research relied on no external funding. The research involved human participants and IRB approval was received. Because researchers analyzed only those data from our typical course practices and made efforts to ensure anonymity, confidentiality, and ensured no undue coercion, these studies were considered exempt from IRB approval based on the following policy Basic HHS Policy for Protection of Human Research Subjects, 45 C.F.R. § 46.101 (2005). Data and materials used in this research are available upon request, email the corresponding author for more details. No software was used in this study.

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Armshaw, B.P., Cihon, T.M. & Lopez, C. A Constructional Approach to the Use of Behavior Change Projects in Undergraduate Behavior Analysis Courses. Behav Analysis Practice (2021).

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  • Behavior change project
  • Exploratory logs
  • Functional relations
  • Introduction to behavior analysis courses
  • Undergraduate students