Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fun can change behavior for the better

This little experiment was too good not to share. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, motivation is a crucial element in behavior modification. In applied behavior analysis we say that a behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future. A new initiative set out to prove that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. In this video, participants chose the healthier stairs over the escalator because the stairs are more fun. You can see it in action here:

It is such a simple idea and very easy to implement with children.  Parents can use fun to motivate children to do things they don’t want to do.  For example, if a child is resisting brushing teeth, going into the bathroom together and singing a funny song may be motivation enough. If getting dressed is a struggle, initiate a game of tickle, act silly and turn getting dressed into something fun.  Instead of demanding that a child clean up the toys, turn on some music, dance around and turn it into a game.  To bring out the best in a child, don’t demand good behavior, motivate it with fun.

Daniel Adatto, MA, BCBA

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