Assignment: Psychology Of Learning

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Learning a New Behavior



Learning a New Behavior

The process of learning a new behavior ensures that one is able to acquire a new disposition in as much as their capability changes. This implies that one’s disposition, or inclination towards doing or not doing something changes, with actual behavioral changes being observable, while their capabilities, or skills and knowledge that they need to do perform a particular task changes (Goldsmith & Reiter, 2015). As a result, the learning process ensures that a permanent change in behavior can be seen in the performance of an individual. Personally, there are various behaviors that I would want to stop and start new ones, which I deem as better and more acceptable among other people.

One of the main behaviors that I plan on stopping is my temper tantrums. Often times, I find myself acting out of passive aggressiveness, belligerence, pouting, and opt to withdraw from particular activities even though I understand that they are important. My anger tantrums have been a key barrier to effective socialization in as much as I have realized that they make it hard for me to establish and stay in a healthy relationship. Thus, I am planning to stop this behavior and learn a new one in order to ensure that my anger tantrums do not cause me to undermine the importance of positive relationships with other people (Lefrançois, 2012). This will ensure that I can learn a new and better way to express my anger and feelings through proper use of words and actions.

A key approach to addressing this behavioral problem would be the recognition of the fact that my anger tantrums and frustration are real and can be destructive whenever the arise. Recognizing the existence of the problem helps in the identification of the source of this problem in order for it to be addressed and assist in learning a new behavior. Being able to express the feeling behind the anger is a key approach towards ensuring that the anger tantrums do not cause negative impacts in my relationship with other people. This ensures that I can control my feelings and speak calmly about what I feel. The behaviorism theory by Edwin Guthrie’s contiguity theory, based on classical conditioning, would be effective in addressing my behavior problem involving anger tantrums (Ozmete & Hira, 2011).

According to the theory, the learning process is a consequence of the association between the specific stimulus and the response of an individual towards the stimulus. Thus, a particular stimulus will cause an individual to react in a particular manner. Thus, by learning on how to respond to particular situations, it would be possible to avoid the negative outcomes of temper tantrums. The one-shot learning law by Guthrie states that “a combination of stimuli which has accompanied a movement will on its recurrence tend to be followed by that movement (Lefrançois, 2012).” This implies that if a particular action is undertaken given a specific condition, then it is possible for the same action to be done under a similar circumstance. Thus, in order to address the problem of temper tantrums, it would be necessary to ensure that in can learn new ways of responding to situations that lead to anger. This will ensure that I am able to control my reaction to a particular situation, being able to act and talk calmly in addressing the situation. Thus, through practicing and repetition, I would be able to develop a new habit, which will be able to help me to respond to a wide range of situations without being affected by temper tantrums. Thus, a single occurrence of positive behavior, once repeated in different situations, would help me avoid temper tantrums (Keller & Schoenfeld, 2014). By practicing positive response in varying circumstances, it would be possible to ensure that I can change my behavior.

An effective treatment plan can be developed by understanding the factors triggering the temper tantrums. Some of the factors causing the temper tantrums include disruption of favorite activities, interacting with people I deem as disrespectful, working under pressure, and being given commands or strict directions among other factors (Goldsmith & Reiter, 2015). The establishment of the three-week treatment plan will be able to ensure that the undesirable behavior can be stopped and replaced with a better one. During the first week, I would establish specific routines and schedules to ensure that I can avoid situations that lead to temper tantrums. The presence of consistent schedules ensure that I can accept the changes in routines and adjust my behavior accordingly within the changes in my environment. In addition, it would ensure that I can learn how to respond to particular situations without getting angry as proposed by Guthrie’s learning theory (Keller & Schoenfeld, 2014). By learning how to respond to a particular situation, and then doing it on a routine basis, then I will be able to change my behavior over time.

During the second week, I would establish various prompts and well as transitions to ensure that I can be able to handle various tasks without falling victim of temper tantrums. Being able to complete tasks specified for a particular time ensures that I do not work under pressure thereby triggering the tantrums. In addition, proper planning of the tasks and transitions ensure that I can get time to rest and work without disruption across activities. Finally, the third week would focus on skill building to focus on the areas of weakness that could be causing me to fall victim of the tantrums very often (Carlson et al, 2013). I can achieve this by ensuring that I understand the impact of my temper tantrums on my relationships and the overall costs I may have to incur due to my anger reactions. As a result, I will be able to learn how to handle anger and frustrating situations in a calm manner thereby enhancing my skills and an overall change in my lifestyle by adopting behavioral standards that are socially acceptable, increase satisfaction, and improve communication with other people.


Carlson, N. R., Miller, H. L., Heth, D. S., Donahoe, J. W., & Martin, G. N. (2013). Psychology: Pearson New International Edition: The Science of Behavior. Pearson Higher Ed.

Goldsmith, M., & Reiter, M. (2015). Triggers: Creating behavior that lasts–becoming the person you want to be. Crown Business.

Keller, F. S., & Schoenfeld, W. N. (2014). Principles of psychology: A systematic text in the science of behavior (Vol. 2). BF Skinner Foundation.

Lefrançois, G. R. (2012). Theories of human learning: What the professor said. Cengage Learning.

Ozmete, E., & Hira, T. (2011). Conceptual analysis of behavioral theories/models: Application to financial behavior. European Journal of Social Sciences18(3), 386-404.

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