Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Schmooze on up

My aim after University is to go into radio production and that sort of malarkey. Getting a job in the media is super-tough and competitive - there aren’t that many jobs in the area going. Work experience and freelancing-type work are often hard to come by and can be unpaid for a while (at least until you gain lots of experience and, therefore, a good reputation). So here’s my plan, using Applied Behaviour Analysis techniques.

First of all, I have to identify what potential employers/radio professionals higher than me want. Usually, they want tasks to be done to a high standard and quickly; they want a ‘yes’ person, someone who is very flexible; and someone who can take initiative. If I can do these things, I am more likely to be offered work in future and move up the ranks, so to speak.

If you know how reinforcement and Applied Behaviour Analysis works, then you likely know how this is going to go.

The Law of Effect (Thorndike, 1927) underlies the principle of reinforcement, which is that the probability of a behaviour occurring in a situation depends on the consequences it has had in that situation before. To achieve my goals as listed above, positive reinforcement looks like the best tool to use (Wiard, 1972). Here’s a rough outline of what would be involved:

1. Target behaviour – I want employers to give me more work.

2. Appropriate reinforcer/s of the behaviour – as outlined above, I need to complete work quickly and to a high standard, and be readily available. A nice smile and top banter are always good, too. These are reinforcing in and of themselves: bonus!

3. Immediacy and certainty – the reward (taking a load of work off the employer’s plate and having great, innovative content) will immediately follow the behaviour (me doing that work), so there shouldn’t be a problem there… Unless the work I produce isn’t consistently great.

4. Monitor results – this is tricky; sometimes it’s just the case that there’s loads of work, and sometimes there isn’t. Let’s just say that if I’ve not been paid for work in two year’s time, I should probably throw in the towel…

If all goes to plan then I should be well on my way to (slowly) moving up the career ladder. Hooray for ABA! Fingers crossed it really is that simple…


Thorndike, E. L. (1927). The law of effect. The American Journal of Psychology.

Wiard, H. (1972). Why manage behavior? A case for positive reinforcement. Human Resource Management, 11(2), 15-20.

Lauren Rosewarne (Blog 4)

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