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ABA Sports Psychology Case Study

The Case of Brenda

Brenda is 17 years old and plays competitive tennis. In fact, she hopes to get a scholarship to play in college. Brenda's coach asked her to go see a sports psychologist who specializes in ABA because she is having difficulty with her serve. She does not have enough speed and accuracy to win matches. Her coach has tried every strategy he knows with no success. Based on her interview with Brenda and her review of videotapes of his serve, the behaviorist decides to use chaining to help. The behaviorist will break down Brenda's serve into individual units of behavior such as the starting position; ball toss; swing of the racket back; acceleration of the racket, contact with the ball; and follow-through.

1. Provide the rationale for the behaviorist's selection of behavior chaining to help Brenda.
2. Discuss the concepts of primary and secondary reinforcement and how these work in behavior chaining.
3. Suppose that Brenda was having difficulty mastering an aspect of the behavior chain. What would the behaviorist do to help with the mastery of this component of the chain? 4. Discuss the two ways that mastery of a unit of behavior may be assessed.

Solution Preview

Behavioral chaining is a complex behavior that consists of many behaviors happening together. The chain establishes all the steps in a procedure and list them so all the instructors are using the same information. Chaining provides a means of linking several discrete behaviors to a more complex series of responses, and are usually established after observing the steps of the event several times and work well when trying to teach self-help skills. The instructor should verbalize each step in the chain as it is being completed, and should be followed by praise for a job well done (1). Simply saying, behavioral chaining is breaking a task or job down into smaller steps.

Primary reinforcement is often called unconditional reinforcement that occurs naturally and does not require learning in order to work. Often primary reinforcers have a basis of evolution ...

Solution Summary

Discusses various forms of ABA such as behavioral chaining, primary reinforcement, secondary reinforcement, and strategies to master behavioral chaining as well as single-opportunity methods, and multiple opportunity method of behavioral chaining.

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