Behavioral Assessment - Psychology Essay Sample

Published: 2019-05-28
Behavioral Assessment - Psychology Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Human behavior
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1196 words
10 min read

One of the basic psychological processes of any psychologist is to assess the behavior patterns of a person. Behavioral assessment is a tenet of John B Watsons school of thought that states that behavior can be measured and trained. This school of thought emphasizes on the need to train children to behave in a certain way. The behavior of a person relies on the environment in which that person lives and his surrounding which influence his actions, mentality and ultimately his behavior. Behaviorism states that if one can control the environment in which a child grows, he can ultimately influence the behavior of that child. For one to influence the behavior of a child in the correct manner he has to understand the behavior and factors that trigger this behavior. Behavioral assessment is the initial step of understanding the behavior of a child and influencing it in the correct manner to achieve a target behavior. Behavioral assessment involves a process of understanding a behavior, the interrelatedness of certain actions, the possible triggers of such behavior and the reinforcing factors to that behavior. Understanding these factors can help in formulating strategies t influence the behavior of that person toward a target behavior.

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Behavioral assessment is a process of measuring a persons behavior according to the observable characteristics of a person. Behavior is an abstract thing and is relative to a persons opinions and perceptions. Therefore, applied behavioral analysis bases its strategies on scientific observable characteristics that rate the behavioral characteristics of a person and the possible reinforcements that encourage certain characteristics (Johnson, J M 2014). It involves the use of various principles systematically to determine the variables responsible for significant behavioral change. Behavioral analysis can occur in two main ways, Clinical behavioral analysis and functional behavioral analysis. Clinical behavioral analysis deals with cases of extreme behavioral changes n a person. The cause of these changes may be unknown by the people around him and require the intervention of a professional to determine the causes f such changes and possible remedies for it. It may involve counseling sessions, interventions by family members among many other options (Baum W M, 2005). Functional behavioral analysis on the other hand involves people with disabilities. This assessment seeks to determine the causes of certain behaviors among people with disabilities and possible ways to control and regulate such behaviors. The aim of such assessment is to determine whether certain people have any mental disabilities and possible ways of helping them cope with the problems. This approach is useful especially when dealing with children with ASD and other disabilities.

Radical behaviorism is one of the most common approaches of dealing with behavioral assessment. Every behavioral analytic practitioner ought to adhere to the rules of radical behaviorism to deal with different cases that affect his patient. Radical behaviorism is a concept coined by B.F Skinner to address many ways of measuring the behavior of a patient. This approach encourages the behavioral analytic practitioner to keep a daily record of observable characteristics of the person being examined to help them complete their tasks effectively. For instance, one can tell various challenges that might influence the operant or classical conditioning to influence a certain behavior(Johnson, J M 2014). Using this approach, one can easily determine the causes of a certain behavior and choose an appropriate method of countering this behavior in a person. Radical Behaviorism enables psychologists to assess the development levels of a person and the possible influences to certain behavior. This approach incorporates different approaches that enable psychologist acquire insights into various causes of different behavior and reasons probable ways to mitigate certain characteristics.

Behaviorism entails various approaches that can help determine the causes of different behaviors in the people involved. One of the common approaches is the Mentalistic vs. Environmental explanations. This approach assumes that all things have a cause to them. All behaviors that are observed in different people have a cause or influence. The mentalistic approaches to this theory argue that for a behavior to be observed there must be some mental influences that motivate such behaviors. The proponents of this approach argue that the observable characteristics of a behavior are a reflection of the internal mental processes of the person. According to this approach, for one to understand the behavior of a person he need t understand their metal processes and ultimately establish the mental factors that might ignite certain behaviors in a person. An alternative to this approach is the environmental approach of a certain behavior. According to this approach, the behavior of a person is determined by external environmental factors. For instance, the behavior of a person is largely influenced by the place he is rather than he environmental conditions. This approach focuses on the external factors that might influence certain behaviors in a person(Baum W M, 2005). A behaviorist must consider both variables to understand the influences to different behaviors in a person. One must determine the extent to which the environment influences certain behaviors and the extent in which the metal processes influence behavior.

Another important approach to evaluate behavior is the Free Will vs. Determinism approach. This approach evaluates the extent to which a person chooses to behave in a certain way and the extent to which his behavior is a matter of circumstances. The proponents of the free will approach argue that the behavior of a person in entirely a matter of his choice. A psychologist should approach behavior knowing that he cannot influence behavioral changes unless the individual decides to change them himself. Determinism argues that the behavior of a person can be determined by the some other factors that might be environmental or inherited. For instance, a persons anger management issues might have originated from his parent and genetically passed to him.

Another approach is the Realism vs. Pragmatism approach to behaviorism. The proponents of pragmatism argue that behavior should be assessed by evaluating behavior in a practical approach. For instance, a students understanding of concepts in class will depend entirely on their ability to put into use the knowledge learned (Baum W M, 2005). It will depend on their perception of the truth about various issues. The proponents of realism on the other hand argue that perception is the main influence to any behavior. The behavior of a person will depend on their perception about various issues they face. For instance, the perception of a student about the correct behavior in a person will influence their behavior in the society. The only way one can change the behavior of such a person is by changing their perception to different things.

Behavioral assessment is a basic psychological process that enables professionals to influence the behavior of people. In a school setting, behavioral analysis can be pivotal in promoting the correct behavior of students. If well used, it not only helps better the performance of students but also improves their interpersonal relationships with one another.


Baum, W. M. (2005) Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution (2nd ed.) Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Johnson, J. M. (2014). Radical behaviorism for ABA practitioners. Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing.

Moore, J. (2008). Conceptual foundations of radical behaviorism. Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Pub.

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