PSYCH538-21B (HAM)

Applications of Behaviour Analysis

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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Paper Description

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This course covers the application of behavioural principles in a variety of settings. The objective is to examine and critique recent applications of the methods and theories of behaviour analysis as they apply to a range of settings to both prevent and change problem behaviours. Practical skills are emphasised and are addressed in the practical component. The course forms part of the University of Waikato course sequences verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) as providing appropriate content for those wishing to gain BCBA certification.
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Paper Structure

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All lectures will be delivered online in FLEXI mode. Much of the content is delivered online in the form of Moodle lessons, with synchronous and asynchronous interactive sessions. There will also be face to face sessions, for more in-depth and interactive discussions of the content. For those taking the paper online, please note there are some elements that require students to be online at specified times. The practical component of this course aims to allow students to gain some of the practical skills required for the application of behaviour reduction, teaching new behaviours, and increasing desired behaviours. Labs / tutorial will be face to face on campus.

As part of the verified coursework sequence (VCS) for certification as a BCBA or BCaBA it provides 46 coursework hours (24 from lectures and 22 from practicals) with BABC Task list 5th Edition content area hours: Section 2: F(1, 2, 3, 5, 6) = 15 hours; G (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16): 25 hours; I (4, 5, 6, 7): 6 hours.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Examine and critique applications of behaviour analysis in a range of settings, including issues concerning the management of other personnel..
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Describe how to apply the methods and theories of behaviour analysis to produce new skills/behaviours.
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  • Describe how to apply the methods and theories of behaviour analysis to prevent and change problem behaviours.
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  • Design, monitor, and evaluate behavioural plans in applied settings within the guidelines specified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
    Linked to the following assessments:
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For this course you are required to submit all assignments online in Moodle. Your final grade will be comprised of your final test mark and your coursework marks as described below. Your coursework and your final test are worth 50 % and 50 % respectively.

Weekly Exercises. You will receive full marks for appropriate completion of 10 of the 11 exercises, which must be completed before class every week for a total of 40% of the on-course mark (20% of the total marks).

These exercises will be marked on a pass/fail basis. Feedback will be given if it is a fail and you will be given a chance to resubmit. The intention of the exercises is to prepare you to discuss the topic that week. You should check your understanding by asking questions in class.

Practicals and Practical Exercises. You must participate in (by attending and getting your sign-in sheet signed or by submitting evidence of your participation online) all 11 of the practicals and submit all 9 practical exercises, worth 60% of the on-course mark (30 % of the total marks). Details and due dates of the practical assignments are on Moodle.

If you are a HAM student you may complete any missed on-campus practicals by doing the on-line practical. If you are a NET student and are able to be in Hamilton you may attend the on-campus practicals. Please let us know before for each practical if you choose to do either of these as we will be preparing material for the on-campus practical sessions and need to know how many students to prepare for.

Final test. To pass this course, you must sit the final test. You will receive an IC if you do not sit this. The final test will be for 3 hours during the examination period and will cover the content from the entire semester. The test format is a mixture of multi-choice, short answer and short essay questions and will cover the entire lecture content and aspects of the readings that are covered in class. You will be able to access it via Moodle. The test will be available on Moodle for a 24 hours period during the exam period: Tuesday 26th of October (midnight - midnight). Once you begin the test you will have to complete it within the 3 hour time window. The test will automatically close 3 hours after you have started it. Multi-choice questions are set to 'shuffle' which means that the way the response options appear to you may be different to how they appear to someone else, so while the correct answer to question 1- may be 'C' for you, it could be 'D' for another student. You will be able to access the test from any location with reliable internet access and it is essentially an open book test. It may be best to do this on campus if you are not sure about the quality of the internet access elsewhere.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Practical Assignments
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Weekly Exercises
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Final Test
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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The textbook for this course is:
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis, 3rd ed. Hoboken.

It will be available as an e-book via the library. The library also holds previous editions in hard copy.

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Recommended Readings

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There are other texts that are useful, for example:
Malott, R.W. & Suarez, E.T. (2004). Principles of behaviour. BF319.5 .O6M34 2004
Martin & Pear (2007). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it (8th ed.)
Miltenberger (2008). Behavior modification: principles and procedures. BF637 .B4M535 2008
Sulzer-Azaroff, B. & Mayer, G. R. (2019). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Sloan Publishing.

Some readings will be online in Moodle. If you are intending to continue to professional work in this area it is recommended that you start building your resources (e.g., manuals, books, web-sites, forms etc).

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Online Support

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Other information of importance to all students can be accessed on the School of Psychology Psych Café at
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11 hours per week class contact, reading and weekly assignment preparation
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: PSYC314 or PSYCH314




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