Causes of behavior: Holistic & historical theories & Models

Questioning is the basis of all learning. Questions learners ask and questions teachers ask learners, in isolation, or embedded in a discussion, activity, or sequence of learning, to inquire for better understanding of a topic or an idea.

Overview

Contents Overview

This page includes a discussion of theories or models for the causes of behavior. Included are six historical models, and a holistic model, and a social-cognitive-neuroscience (SCN) model. Each of six historical models includes a: summary of the theory, diagnosis examples, intervention goals, intervention techniques, key terms and notable people associated with each. And Case studies: One study for each historical theory that illustrates how the belief for each cause of behavior affects intervention choices & outcomes.

Questioning is the begining of goal setting and behavior change through conversations learners have with themselves and others. Conversations which are guided by theories, beliefs, and models. By understanding them better decisions can be made to increase the changes for matery oriented behaviors.

Historical models have a degree of validity. However, each alone does not best explain the cause of all behaviors. Yet, most people attempt to explain behavior with a single minded explanation and use an intervention to match it. Too often concluding, when unsuccessful, the intervention was at fault, but it might be the explanation or belief of the cause of the behavior wasn't accurate.

... if we always do what we’ve always done we’ll always get what we always got.

Holistic model & theory

A model that considers multiple causes of behaviors has been historically created by combining several theories into a Holistic Behavior Model. The benefits of this model can be attributing causes of behavior to multiple sources and provide a larger variety of interventions - sometimes implemented simultaneously. Research supports holistic approaches by demonstrating they succeed more often than singular approaches.

Recently, Social-cognitive-neuroscience (SCN) approaches have been suggested to replace a holistic model. This approach integrates theories, methods, and insights of social cognition and cognitive neuroscience. The focus is on causes of behavior, causes in opposite directions.

This theory of behavior describe the relationship among forces operating at three levels: the social/interpersonal level which can describe individual experience and behavior, the cognitive level which can describe the mediating processes, and the neural level which can describe the circuits of brain structures that carry out these processes. Adapted from - Kevin Ochsner and Matt Lieberman

I believe the following illustrates both a holistic and social cognitive neuroscience model.

Hoistic Chart diagram

 

Six Historical Models & Theories for Causes of Behavior

Model Theory Diagnosis Goals of Intervention Intervention Techniques Key Terms Notable Names
Behavioral Behavior, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are learned according to principles of reinforcement and punishment.
A behaviorist will not consider what a person is thinking as it was said to be unknown.
Stimulus response - the focus on external factors affecting behavior. If the stimulus is changed, the behavior will likewise be changed.
  • Problem identification
  • Identify target behavior
  • Identify antecedents & consequences
  • Identify new behaviors
  • Gather baseline data
  • Identify reinforcers
Decrease undesirable behavior and reshape with acceptable behavior.
  • Positive and negative reinforcement
  • Group contingencies
  • Self-control intervention
  • Contingency contracting
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Graph baseline and treatment schedules
  • Punishment
  • Use relaxation techniques
  • Shaping
  • Positive and negative reinforcement
  • Punishment
  • Modeling
  • Shaping
  • Ignoring
  • Time out
  • Overcorrection
  • Isolation
  • Token economy
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Elias
  • Clabby
  • Ellis
  • O’leary
  • Pavlov
  • Premack
  • Shure
  • Skinner
  • Watson
  • Bandura
Cognitive Behavior, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are learned according to principles of reinforcement and punishment.
A cognitivist will consider what a person thinks as a clue to reinforcement
  • Problem identification
  • Identify target behavior
  • Identify antecedents & consequences
  • Identify new behaviors
  • Gather baseline data
  • Identify self-dialogue
  • Identify reinforcements
  • Decrease undesirable behavior
  • Decrease dysfunctional thinking
  • Replace targeted undesirable behaviors with acceptable behaviors
  • Reinforcement
  • Group contingencies
  • Self-control intervention
  • Contingency contracting
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Graph baseline and treatment schedules
  • Avoid punishment
  • Use relaxation techniques
  •  Reinforcement DRO, DRI, DRA
  • Punishment
  • Modeling
  • Shaping
  • Ignoring
  • Time out
  • Overcorrection
  • Isolation
  • Token economy
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Elias
  • Clabby
  • Ellis
  • O’leary
  • Pavlov
  • Premack
  • Shure
  • Watson
  • Bandura
Psychodynamic Interpersonal Behavior and personality are a function of internal, inherent drives and motivations in interaction with significant others, developmental stages, and individual life experiences.
  • Research background information through parents and previous teachers.
  • Access student health records for certain learning disorders that may affect the classroom.
  • Help student figure out why or what is causing their behavior and how to change.
  • Help other staff members understand the causes.
  • Psychotherapy (play, self, family, individual, peer, group, bibliotherapy)
  • Self-esteem activities
  • Psychodrama
  • Counseling (teacher, peer)
  • Staff changes
  • Choice theory
  • Reality theory
  • Psychosexual stages (id, ego, superego)
  • Unconscious
  • Psychosocial stages
  • Counseling
  • Life space interview
  • Defense mechanisms, projection, repression, displacement, regression, sublimation,
  • Adler
  • Albert
  • Berne
  • Dreikurs
  • Erickson
  • Freud
  • Ginott
  • Piaget
Humanistic Behavior is a result of seeking to fulfill basic and advanced needs in a person's life. Since needs range across Maslow's hierarchy (physiological, security, social, self-esteem, and self-actualization), with the lower level needs tending to be of primary concern before higher level. However, human capacity for empathy and goodness and strivings for competence will push us toward self-actualization.
  • Determine unmet needs
  • Determine demands for conformity
  • Determine factors that diminish worth
  • Identify punitive nondemocratic practices
  • Meeting with the student to help him or her realize and meet his or her own needs.
  • Provide for realization of student’s strivings
  • Organize for creativity, individuality, & curiosity
  • Provide prosocial models
  • Provide moral education
  • Provide for individuals to meet their own needs
  • Open education
  • Participatory democracy
  • Empowerment
  • Alternative schools
  • Role-play to dramatize needs and desires
  • Rap sessions
  • Cooperation vs. competition
  • Social activities.
  • Self-actualization
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Individual rights
  • Alienation
  • Cooperation
  • Democratic
  • Allport
  • Goodman
  • Herdon
  • Holt
  • Maslow
  • Rogers
  • Rosseau
  • Bandura
Biophysical Behavior is greatly influenced by body and brain structure: neurological connections, body chemistry, genetics, nutrition, physical fitness, health, and lifestyle choices. Balance between body and mind.
  • Gather information on health status and health history
  • Observe affect of energy, & appearance
  • Obtain eating and sleeping patterns
  • Review medication history
  • Engage family physician
  • Refer for evaluation MRI, fMRI, and other medical data
  • Maintain optimum health state for each student
  • Provide appropriate medical, nutritional, educational. physical, & psychological interventions
  • Balance is sometimes a trade off between one thing and another
  • Medication
  • Rehabilitation
  • Glasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices...
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Therapy: gene, allergy radiation, vitamin, speech, physical, nutrition, stress
  • Brain damage
  • PKU
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Temperament
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bender
  • Chess
  • Cruickshank
  • Delacato
  • Fernald
  • Frostig
  • Kephart
Environmental or Ecological Personality & behavior are a function of the interaction of all ecological and interpersonal forces that impact on individuals. People’s behavioral patterns are influenced by the environment surrounding them which includes the people, the psychological climate, and the physical environment.
  • Identify consistency of behavior in a system: student norms, self-fulfilling prophecies, class ecology (physical and climate), and teacher behavior and style.
  • Restructure classroom, school, home, or community physical, social, and emotional environment.
  • Change community attitudes
  • Influence legislature to make new laws
  • Provide positive climate
  • Learning conflict resolution, coping skills, and problem solving is of great assistance in balancing the needs of the person with the environment.
  • Needs assessment
  • Task forces
  • Empowerment from top
  • Data-based decisions
  • Model building theory
  • Conflict resolution
  • Social skills
  • Class meetings
  • Residential programs,
  • Halfway houses, community living
  • Appropriate instructional strategies
  • Architectural changes
  • Class & school climate
  • Classroom management
  • Organize settings (temporal, spatial, interpersonal)
  • Birth order
  • Family system theory
  • Learning styles (teacher & student)
  • Communication systems
  • Social Classes (town, city, demographic information)
  • Social Economic Status (SES)
  • Curwin & Mendler
  • Duke
  • Glasser
  • Gump
  • Jones
  • Kounin
  • Lewin
  • Redl
  • Barker
  • Canter

 

Case studies: One study for each historical theory that illustrates how the belief for each cause of behavior affects intervention choices & outcomes

Philosophies, theories, and beliefs are important when making decisions!
If you are not familiar with the Donkey Fable ... , check it out.
Everyone has a philosophy wether they know it or not!

Decisions people make to facilitate or manage children’s behavior depend on their beliefs, philosophies, and theories about what they believe why children behave the way they do.

If we understand the different beliefs people have, then we will understand why they make the decisions they do. Knowing this helps us make better decisions.

This may seem like a big task, but historically people generally attribute behavior to six general categories.

Knowing these categories, and understanding what beliefs relate to each, can help to not only understand what people attribute behavior causes, but to make decisions on how to intervene and alter behavior.

See above a summary of these Six Historical Models for Causes of Behavior.

To demonstrate how each of these models have been used in school settings a set of six case studies describes one intervention for each of these historical theories.

Imagine a study being conducted by a group of educational researchers to investigate how school systems; with different theoretical points of view: behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, environmental, humanistic, and biophysical; can effect student's behavior. To achieve their results imagine a student, Chris, being placed simultaneously into six parallel universes, or him being cloned six times and dropped into six different educational settings ... Years later the results of the study were compiled and published as:

  1. A Case Study in Six Perspectives: results in textual format or
  2. Results in multiple slide presentations in the case study directory (Flash format)

Match each case to one of the six historical theories.

Enjoy!

 

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