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.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wedding planners and ABA

As a wedding planner, you will often have to deal with brides who desire the involvement of their, often not-so-interested, other halves in the organisation of the big day. In order to make the process more enjoyable for the bride-to-be, applied behavioral analysis could be used to encourage higher levels of participation from their fiancĂ©. To increase the frequency of this desired behavior from potentially non-existent to a satisfying level, 'participating behaviors' should first be explicitly defined. The target behavior may be:

1. to provide opinions on food and floral arrangement preferences
2. to at least appear interested in venue choices.

Functional relations can then be observed to distinguish any triggers or reinforcers surrounding the lack of these behaviors. I could do this by simply asking the soon-to-be groom or his lady-love how often he makes himself distant from the wedding organisation and whether this occurs only in booked sessions or if it happens at home as well. These behavioural occurrencewould be recorded over the course of a week to illustrate the frequency of the undesired behaviour. After his baseline behaviour rate has been established, I could get to work on getting my male client more involved in the process by using a form of negative reinforcement (Iwata, 1987). 

I could do this by offering his sweetheart most expensive wedding package options available, which would quickly burn a large hole in his pocket. This would hopefully encourage him to take a more active role in decisions and express his opinion more during planning sessions. As in order to avoid the heavy price tags, the fiancé would be encourage to display the desired behaviour of engaging with the wedding plans. If I recorded him participating more actively in the wedding planning after this intervention, then the applied behavioral analysis would have been successful. If involvement did not increase, then at least I will be getting hefty commission bonus!!

Ella Mould


Iwata, B. A. (1987). Negative reinforcement in applied behavior analysis: An emerging technology. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis20(4), 361-378.

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