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Behavioral Modification

Posted by on Monday, March 8, 2010 in Academics, College Life, General Information.

In my Psychology of Eating Disorders First Year Seminar, we were assigned a “Behavior Modification” project. To give background, behavior modification is exactly what it sounds like – a technique used by clinicians to literally modify people’s undesirable behavior with a healthier or more productive option. It essentially capitalizes on intervention in undesirable behavior instead of relying on willpower to change it. For example, many people want to stop eating junk food that is in their room. Instead of using willpower (which we all know does not work anywhere close to 100% of the time), behavior modification technique may suggest that a person take steps to eliminate the junk food from their room. I know personally I like to munch on an open bag of chips if it’s on my desk. I find it difficult to resist if it is sitting there in my face easily accessible. If I were to slightly modify my behavior and put the chips away after having an acceptable portion, I know that I am too lazy to get up just to open the chips back up, thus eliminating my tendency to mindlessly munch on unhealthy chips.

That was a long winded setup to discuss how fascinated I am by this seemingly over-simplistic approach to solving problems. I find it funny how it is so simple, yet so effective and often we don’t even think about a simple solution to a problem such as behavior modification.

I feel that this is a great project for our class to do, because it will teach us how to become more methodical in our pursuit to eliminate an undesirable behavior in our lives, something I know I will have to do in my future. Personally, I am doing my project on trying to maximize the efficiency of my time in the practice room. I don’t have much more time in my day to practice, so the goal is to make the time I have really count. I am in the process of figuring out an action plan to do this. I must say I hope it works! If it does, I will make a lot more progress musically, which is something I have wanted to work on since starting Vanderbilt.

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