Alternative – Book Report/Review Example

Article Review “Application of operant conditioning procedures to the behavior problems of an autistic child” by Wolf, Risley, and Mees discusses the use of operant conditioning on a locally brain-damaged, autistic pre-school child. The methods used on the child are no different than the ones used on someone who does not have a mental disorder. The research methods are important in this study because it gives doctors and therapists insight into how someone who is mentally disabled can still be conditioned into certain behaviors. Children can learn to behave in a socially acceptable fashion if these methods are proven to be helpful.
The studies that were used in this experiment were mild punishment and extinction, in regard to the child’s temper tantrums. The mild punishments were often in the form of time-outs; the punishment was extinct as the child began to understand what would happen should he fall into a temper tantrum. The tantrums began to immediately decrease as the child realized what would happen if he had a tantrum; he did not much like being in time-out, which was often done in seclusion. As the months went on, it was noted that the tantrums were fewer and far between, and they would last under five minutes - the length they would normally last prior to the child being conditioned.
Conditioning, aside from aiding the child in overcoming his temper tantrums, allowed the child to be put to bed without problems and to wear his glasses properly and without trouble. These tests and these results showed that even despite being locally brain-damaged and autistic, it is still possible to condition someone to respond to events in socially acceptable ways. It is because of this that others in the same situations can learn to adapt to acceptable behavior and respond positively towards others in their lives, as well as towards events.