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Behavior Analysis and Drum Corps

Before I talk about this, I should explain drum corps. Drum corps is a group of people who perform a show and compete with other musical groups around the country (in other words, it’s an elevated version of marching band). There are brass players, percussion players, and colorguard. All are essential in making the show a success. So much of this depends on the success of the group, so even if one person isn’t at the same level as everyone else, it affects the success of the entire group. I still think applying behavior analysis to drum and bugle corps is a fantastic idea. Back when I was part of the Undergraduate Association for Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Reno, we had a long discussion on the difficulty of applying BA to the field, but now I don’t think it would be so difficult. The most difficult part I think would be getting my foot in the door, and being allowed to intervene on such groups that don’t have a lot of time to spare. I don’t know if it would be better to focus increasing productivity in the group as a whole, or focus on case by case for those members of a drum and bugle corps that are under-performing comparatively to other members. There are many different components to work on too… music and fitness. So much potential…

Four-term contingency of the day: Snooze
  • Motivating Operation:

    buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz (the most annoying sound ever)

  • Discriminative Stimulus:

    Snooze button on the alarm clock

  • Behaviour:

    Press down on snooze button

  • Consequence:

    The annoying sound stops (negative reinforcement). I can go back to sleep.

  • <Repeat about 3-4 times>

  • It's Back to School. My body is not ready for early morning wake-up calls again. It's so easy to just press the button. Nine more minutes turns into 36 minutes real easy. I think I need to alter the snooze button and turn it into an S-delta, put my behaviour on extinction.

Challenge Accepted

So I have a methods class this semester as well as an EAB class. EAB is great, and despite the buttloads of reading, I know I’m going to learn a lot from the course. The methods class however, we have to come up with questions for discussion, which is fine and everything, but I was given the advice to take off my ABA hat in that class, and go with the flow. Problem is, all the questions I can think of are questions that challenge. Definitely a behavior analyst haha..



This is going to sound very stupid…

But what does one wear to as a graduate student/fellow?

I’m REALLY glad I’m not the only person that wondered this before I started classes. 

I had this dilemma too!! Didn’t know if I needed to look professional or if I could still wear my short shorts. 

Ideas for chaining

In my first graduate class ever, I will be required over the semester to teach a rat a behavior chain and shape that behavior exactly how I want. I want to come up with a behavior that is creative and hasn’t been done before in my lab. Being inclined towards music, I would love to shape this rat to play a simple song with a musical instrument (twinkle twinkle little star), or to teach the rat choreography to a popular song (Thriller anyone?) . I don’t think this would be too complicated for them to learn either. What kind of chain would you teach a rat if given the opportunity?

Pigeons playing ping pong!

Pigeons playing ping pong!


What if Harry Potter’s Books were written by a Behaviorist?

Coercion and Its Fallout by Murray Sidman

This book was a great read during the summer. I’m still working on it, but it discusses punishment and why it doesn’t work. Behavior analysts can read it with ease, and people who haven’t been exposed could learn a thing or two and still find this book to be fascinating. It puts how I worked at my old job from Maplestar into perspective. When I used punishment procedures to change their behavior, I usually would receive the benefit of decreased problem behaviors temporarily. Problem is, the problems will come back. The kids learn how to avoid you catching them quite well. A good example is getting a speeding ticket. Does getting that ticket ultimately make you drive the speed limit? Or do you slow down only when you see a cop? You may drive the speed limit for a little while, but after avoiding a cop that isn’t even present, you will forget about those punishing effects and engage in the speeding behavior again. The book takes it to a bigger perspective such as nuclear war. When America dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was devastating. Countries decided nuclear bombs shouldn’t be used again. What’s happening is that the people who were alive during this time, were the ones that experienced it, and avoided from using nuclear bombs again. What is going to happen when those people all die? We are left with the people who never directly experienced it, and don’t personally know the adverse effects other than what has been told to them. This potentially could lead to using a nuclear bomb again. Scary to think about though, isn’t it? Sidman believes that we need to promote positive reinforcement for everything. We live in a society where punishment procedures are used constantly. Obey the law or you will go to jail. Do your homework or you will fail. Pay your rent or your landlord will kick you out of the apartment. It’s impossible to avoid punishment. We as a society need to change. Positive reinforcement can do that. It can change a person from doing something to avoid punishment, versus doing something that they actually enjoy doing. Wouldn’t that be great?



Sacramento Mandarins 2013: Destination America Journey of the Paper Sons

I miss this show and I miss my family. 

Favorite Mandarins show by far!


Mandarins cymbal line in the new uniforms. :)

These uniforms are SEXY!


Mandarins cymbal line in the new uniforms. :)

These uniforms are SEXY!