Behavioural Social Work: An Introduction by Barbara Hudson, Geraldine M. Macdonald

By Barbara Hudson, Geraldine M. Macdonald

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These issues will be taken up again in Chapter 5. SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY Fortunately for most of us the two theories just discussed are not the whole of the learning story. Much of what we learn falls outside the scope of respondent and operant conditioning, and this section deals with the third main area of learning theory from which the techniques of behaviour modification are drawn: modelling. Operant learning says that what we learn to do is determined by the consequences of our behaviour. Clearly if this were the whole story we would learn very little, very slowly and very happenstansically.

Those conducting the experiment stood behind a one-way screen. A tuning fork was struck and half a second later the dog was fed, through a tube leading to its mouth, with food powder. In this experiment therefore the dog could not see the food and initially the dog salivated only when the food was inside its mouth. However, as tone and food continued to be paired, the dog salivated earlier and earlier until salivation eventually occurred before the dog was fed, but after the tone. The same results occurred using a variety of stimuli including bells, lights and shapes.

We recognise that these may have to be renegotiated from time to time, or intervention terminated. We also recognise that in situations where consent is impossible to obtain, the worker may not always be able to fulfil these criteria. g. clients with severe mental handicap, very young children and elderly mentally infirm clients. In these situations reference should be made to the guardians/appointed or responsible care-givers. It is considered an integral part of the social worker's approach that he or she plans and implements all intervention in such a way as to allow its effectiveness to be evaluated.

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