Concepts and Principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis - TZ905

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 20 (10)


The programmes of study to which the module contributes:

MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
MSc in Positive Behaviour Support (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)





The aim of this module is to develop an advanced understanding of elements and characteristics of the concepts and principles underpinning applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The module will start from an appreciation of the roots of ABA in the experimental analysis of behaviour. Operant and respondent conditioning will be considered, starting from fundamentals but proceeding to an advanced understanding of the necessary concepts and their underpinning in research. Particular attention will be given to elucidating both the conceptual basis and the applied implications of reinforcement, extinction and punishment, avoidance and escape, stimulus control and generalization, establishing operations and setting events. The interpretation of complex behaviour will be considered both with respect to the integrated application of fundamental concepts and the conceptual extensions and developments required.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45
Private study hours: 155
Total study hours: 200


Autumn and spring

Method of assessment

100% coursework comprising:

Essay (2750 words) – 50%
Review (1000 words) – 25%
Timed quiz (1 hour) – 25%

Indicative reading

Chance, P. (1998). First Course in Applied Behavior Analysis. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole

Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., Heward, W.L. (2007, 2nd Ed.) Applied Behaviour Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall.

Johnson, J.M (2013) Radical Behaviorism for ABA Practitioners. Sloan Educational Publishing.

Martin, G., & Pear, J. (2003). Behavior modification: what it is and how to do it. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education International.

Wallace, M., Mayer, G. R., Sulzer-Azaroff, B., & (2013, 3rd ed). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Display advanced understanding of the principles of the experimental analysis of behaviour and applied behaviour analysis.
2. Identify and describe, in-depth the dimensions of applied behaviour analysis as developed by Baer, Wolf & Risley.
3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the principles of operant and respondent behaviour.
4. Display advanced understanding of three and four part contingencies in the analysis of behaviour in context.
5. Identify and describe, in-depth: stimulus control, generalisation, punishment, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement (avoidance and escape), schedules of reinforcement, extinction, motivating operations and setting events, verbal operants, rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviour, and derived stimulus relations.
6. Identify and describe, in depth, unconditioned, conditioned and generalised reinforcers, punishers and motivating operations
7. Critically evaluate academic research in Applied Behaviour Analysis.

The intended generic learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Effectively integrate complex knowledge from different sources, including published work and personal experience.
2. Demonstrate the ability to understand, and communicate in writing, complex, abstract concepts.
3. Show a capacity to effectively prioritize the demands of work and study.
4. Use information technology to a high level (e.g., word processing, email, Moodle, e-journals, and other online learning resources).

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