Acquire habits, eliminate certain behaviors or generate changes in the way you act … Sometimes changing your own behavior or that of someone else can be complicated, Especially in boys and girls.
Fortunately, psychology and other disciplines have worked from different theoretical and technical currents that allow people to change the way they behave. One of the techniques used for this is token economy.
Economy tab: a method of modifying behavior
Tile economy is one of the behavior modification techniques, which aims to produce a change in the behavior of the subject to be treated or to implement or suppress specific behaviors. These types of techniques are based on the belief that behavior can be changed by learning new actions, and they are widely used to educate or intervene in disorders.
The flea economy technique is based on BF Skinner’s concept of strengthening functional conditioning. This theory indicates whether or not to emit a behavior it depends on the consequences of this action that are perceived. If these are positive, we will tend to repeat the behavior when faced with the expectation of more reinforcement, while if they are negative, we will decrease their frequency or eliminate the behavior from our repertoire.
How is it used?
The procedure to be used in this technique is based on exchange. The emission of objective behavior will be rewarded with a generalized booster in the form of tokens, Which can then be exchanged for activators desirable for the subject. Driving performance is monitored by some type of recording system. The tokens themselves are a neutral stimulus, of no value to the subject until they know how they relate to obtaining reinforcers.
It should be noted that this technique is very useful for modifying behaviors already present in the subject’s repertoire, implementing new behaviors or mitigate behaviors by rewarding incompatible actions, Or by removing the previously delivered tokens.
However, the economy of tokens is only useful if one wants to introduce changes in some specific behaviors, or otherwise the changes are made very gradually and by negotiating in advance with the child or the patient the progress that are “ to be done ”.
The stages of the procedure
Tile economy is a technique that is easy to apply, but which requires following a series of steps so that it can be applied correctly. More precisely, one can find three different phases, even if they are sometimes considered as reducible to one phase of the implementation of the program and another of its fading out.
1. Scheduling phase
The first step in being able to apply this technique is to explain and establish the side of the individual to face the procedure to be performed.
For this technique to be effective the subject must be able to understand the concept of tab, and what it is for. The worksheets to be used are displayed and the person is helped to understand that these items will be used as interchangeable objects by some reinforcements.
Thus, we transform the tab into something desirable for itself and arouse the desire for it. If necessary, he can be illustrated by donating the individual tokens so that he can exchange them for something that can be effective as an enhancer, showing the basic operation and meaning of these interchangeable symbols. This procedure could be seen as a sub-phase, sampling the leaf as a back-up.
The subject is then informed that he will get a certain number of tokens for each time he performs a behavior, or that for a certain time he has performed or avoided a particular behavior.
It is also specified if there is any cost to do the opposite of what is expected. In addition, the reinforcements to be obtained with the cards and are agreed the value of each of them is established, conditioning their obtaining the performance or not of certain behaviors.
Finally, a system is established and developed to record the actions of the person over time.
2. Program implementation
Once you’ve established what you’re going to do, it’s time to put it into practice. The performance of the child, girl, student or patient is monitored, Allocate cards to him (or withdraw them in the case of prohibited behaviors, depending on whether the response cost is applied or not) according to the behavior entered.
It is recommended that at least from the start, every behavior emitted be immediately rewarded, so that the operation of the system is fixed, although over time the rewards are delayed. It is also recommended that only a few of the possible reinforcers be available, so that the desire of those not yet available allows the behavior to be maintained over time.
3. Completion phase
In the last phase, which ended the program, a “dismantling” of the system will be carried out from the economy tab to the end.
As the subject increases his mastery and practice in the target behavior, gradually begins to increase the number of tokens required to reach the reinforcers, while reducing the tokens earned for each behavior performed, hardens the requirements to obtain the reinforcers. tokens and / or the period to be delivered is increased.
Over time, the program itself ceases to apply, the subject having already established the behavior. however, changes must be informed to the individual, So that there is no rejection and a reaction of elimination of the behavior sought or of recrudescence which was supposed to decrease.
The flea economy technique it can be used both individually and collectivelyBut it will always be necessary to adjust and agree both on the behaviors to be carried out and on the reinforcements that can be carried out according to the needs of the individuals or of the group. It can be used to level and standardize a given environment, allowing its reorganization.
The tile economy has a large number of fields of application. It was originally used to motivate patients with mental disorders to act more competently and adaptively. In the clinical setting, therefore, it can be used to teach patients with disorders how to combat their symptoms through behavior change.
It can also be used in education, where it is in fact frequently used, especially in primary schools, or directly at home as a tool for educating sons and daughters. Used in schools, it allows them to strive to take action so that they reach the reinforcer, help improve behavior. But not only does it apply to school or clinic, but it can also be used at a particular level to change habits.
- Ametller, MT (2012). Psychotherapies. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 06. CEDE: Madrid.
- Jurat López, RL (2009). Behavior reduction and / or restoration techniques. Innovation and educational experiences.
- Oblitas, LA (2004). “How to succeed in psychotherapy?” The 22 most important approaches to contemporary and avant-garde psychotherapeutic practice. PSICOM editors. Bogota DC Colombia. Pg. 146.