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Single Subject Experiment

Design a Small N study to change a behavior of your own or of someone with whom you have a great deal of contact. Explain the following
The target behavior and how it would be measured
The reinforcer that would be used and how it would be delivered
The particular Small N design you would use to demonstrate the effectiveness of the reinforcer and to demonstrate any behavioral change.

Solution Preview

This is a fun one! I have actually designed a study like this to try on myself and it worked : )

Small N designs are great when you are working with one person or just a couple of subjects because the study can be designed so the subjects serve as their own controls. If you will actually be performing this study on yourself or another person I suggest you choose a relatively uncomplicated behavior to work with because this will be easier for you in the long run.

Your target behavior is the behavior you wish to change. Let's say that you want to decrease your little brother's disruptive behavior (e.g. shouting while the teacher is talking) in his 2nd grade class. Your target behavior is "shouting while the teacher is talking".

The next question asks you how this target behavior would be measured. To answer this you want to discuss the frequency of the behavior right now in a given time-period (baseline) and how this will be determined. In our example this might be "Johnny shouts when the teacher is talking 12 ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses how to go about creating an experiment based on Skinnerian reinforcement principles and a small sample size. It covers the ABAB (or reversal) design of experiment. This solution can be helpful to those who are looking for an example of a single subject experiment.

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