Is rationalization needed for learning human behaviors?

Is rationalization needed for learning human behaviors?

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What's the purpose of rationalization, specifically in modeling human behaviors?

It is true that people use rationalization to prevent/avoid/justify disappointment?

I've commented to request clarification of your first question, but would like to edit this answer to address it too if you can clarify for us.

As for your second question, I'll begin where I often do when researching simple questions: with Wikipedia. Within our psychological context, it defines rationalization as a defense mechanism (citing Schimelpfening, 2011). By definition, defense mechanisms exist "to manipulate, deny, or distort reality in order to defend against feelings of anxiety and unacceptable impulses to maintain one's self schema." (I found the cited link broken here, FWIW.) Further, "When anxiety becomes overwhelming, it is the ego's place to protect the person by employing defence mechanisms. Guilt, embarrassment and shame often accompany anxiety." Disappointment might be similar enough to anxiety for your purposes, but I would say it's a lower-arousal form of negative affect (see the circumplex model of affect I mentioned in a previous answer). Disappointment may be a bit closer to guilt, embarrassment, or shame in terms of relatively neutral / non-specific arousal, but that's just an educated guess / intuitive judgment.

If disappointment $approx$ these other negative emotions, let's return to Schimelpfening (2011): "An unconscious defense mechanism in which irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings are logically justified or made consciously tolerable by plausible means." Clearly behavioral justification is definitional. "Post-decisional regret" - which sounds just about as similar to disappointment as any affect word I've mentioned yet - is avoided in the act of justifying a decision and prevented thereafter, according to cognitive dissonace theory (see Smith & Mackie, 2007; I may be interpreting loosely).

If this satisfies you that rationalization serves the purpose of preventing/avoiding/justifying negative emotion $approx$ disappointment, the only remaining question (aside from your first one) is whether people use it. Burton (2012) offers some pretty good examples from literature and history, so as @rmayer06 said, the answer is "yes [more or less]".


Burton, N. (2012). Self-deception I: Rationalization: Human beings are not rational, but rationalizing animals. Psychology Today: Hide and Seek. Retrieved from:

Schimelpfening, N. (2011). Rationalization. Health: Depression: Glossary. Retrieved from:

Smith, E. R., & Mackie, D. M. (2007). Social psychology. Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis (UK). Retrieved from:

When President Richard Nixon got caught up in the Watergate scandal, his arguments and denials led to his eventual demise. Bill Clinton also fell down the slippery slope but managed to survive only through some embarrassing and very public confessions.

Using it

When people are seeking justification they are usually desperate. Give them straws to clutch at that lead them in the right direction or give them rope with which they hang themselves. You can even tip them into the need for rationalization in the first place.


Do you really need to go down that spiral of justification? For whom? Did you get there through the trickery of someone else?

Human Behaviour and Environment

When people do something environment friendly, the environmental condition improves. For example, many cultured, educated and environment friendly persons, N.G.O.s and governmental organisations take active steps to improve the environment by reducing and preventing environmental pollution.

Pro-environmental behaviour can not only reduce environmental pollution, but also reverse the process of environmental pollution in a constructive and positive manner. It can also stop the abuse of environment.

Observation of pro-environmental weeks, awareness among people to keep the environment free from pollution, active check on deforestation, and plantation of trees and plants on a regular basis by the public, private, government and non-government bodies can bring positive effect on the environment.

People who are concerned about the adverse effects of environmental pollution and really feel for it show positive attitude towards environmental protection and make conscious efforts in this direction. It is observed that pro-environmentalists do not throw garbage here and there, do not spit and urinate on the road side and in public places.

They also make active efforts for garbage disposals in such a way that it does not affect environment. Even such people complain when other people throw garbage here and there, cut trees indiscriminately, pollute atmosphere through smoking by emitting poisonous gas, coal dusts from coal mines, pollute water, make loud noises etc. Change in life style is also necessary to make the environment pollution-free.

A positive approach towards solving environmental problems helps in reducing pollution or saving the environment from pollution. Besides government efforts, public co-operation is essential in this regard. Without public support, pro-environmental behaviour and “save the environment” activities are not possible.

It is not a one man show. To promote and encourage pro-environmental behaviour, psychologists, sociologists, environmental scientists and many N.G.Os are trying their level best since several decades.

School children world-wide are also observing environmental weeks, thereby helping in its promotion. They are also taught to keep their surroundings neat and clean to prevent and control the damage to the environment through proper management of garbage and waste products.

Scientists, politicians, economists, doctors and Scientists, world-wide are also concerned about damage to the environment since it is a world-wide problem.

Adverse Effects of Human behaviour on Environment:

Human behaviour can either make or break, protect or destroy his environment. Man grows in the environment and lives in the environment. It is just like a mother to him.

But many a times be tries to destroy his own mother i.e., his environment either due to lack of knowledge and awareness or due to ignorance. Sometimes people destroy the environment for their own selfish interest, through deforestation, due to laziness like throwing garbages here and there, instead of putting it in the dustbin.

Many people ply old vehicles on the road which emit poisonous gas. Many industrialists start industries without taking steps to protect the environment. They even show a “dam care” attitude in this regard. When aggrieved people complain about it they show callous attitude. Only when people file a P.I.L (Public interest litigation) in the court of law, they take some action.

Though personal behaviour of a single individual like driving an old car, throwing garbage at unwanted place etc. contribute very little to environment pollution when such behaviour of many people are added up, the problem of environment pollution gets multiplied and severely affects human life.

Thus billions of people living on the mother earth affect the environment adversely through their anti-environmental behaviour.

Though immediate threats due to environment pollution is not perceived, it has long-term adverse effect on human beings. It is thus a fact that human actions are producing dangerous and harmful effects on the environment where we are born, and brought up and where we live and die.

Environment is like our mother which provides us with water, air, food, fuel and a place to live. Should we not protect it through our behaviour and action? Conservation and judicious use of the environment is necessary for the survival of plants and human beings on the earth.

If plants do not survive it becomes difficult for man to survive in a healthy manner. Without being aware of this truth, people go on destroying the forests day by day. This affects the weather, temperature, atmospheric conditions leading to more and more natural calamities.

Environment pollution makes people diseased, psychosomatic and mentally ill. Many people even do not know the consequences and bad impact of their negative behaviour towards environmental protection. They perhaps do not know that such small mistakes on their part threaten and destroy their own existence on this planet. We must understand that conservation of water and energy is necessary for living.

If there is wastage of water and energy in future we will not be able to manage and sustain our life. Many countries in the world are having serious water and fuel problems. Water shortage affects agriculture. If agriculture is affected what would we eat? If there is shortage of fuel how will we cook? Can anybody today imagine to live without electricity?

Today with the urbanisation, industrialisation and technological development, nobody can imagine managing without electricity, gas and twenty-four hour water supply. Our life style has changed. It has become complex and luxurious.

Hence unless protection of environment is done we cannot live in future as we are living today. The human civilisation and mankind will be smashed without protection of the environment. This truth howsoever unpleasant it may be, everybody has to accept and remember.

Management of sewage waste products and garbage have posed serious problem for the governments, municipalities and corporations. When our sewage disposals are flushed as it is into the rivers, they lead to water pollution and such water becomes unfit for human use.

Water of sacred rivers of the country like Ganga and Yamuna and many other river are now unfit for consumption because of pollution by human beings. This is really very sad. We know that there was public demand for “Ganga Bachao” and government is taking steps to depollute and disinfect such rivers to make the water fit for consumption.

Waste products also pose serious problems now and that is why in many states, use of polythene bags is banned. Steps are being taken in many states for recycling of the wastes like paper, glass, plastic and metal products. They can be reused through recycling and environment can be saved. But citizen awareness is necessary in this regard.

Due to pollution growth over consumption and lack of resource conservation the environment is affected adversely. Because of our present way of living and behaving, harmful changes are taking place in the environment.

Therefore considerable changes are required in our cultural practices and style of living. To overcome this serious threat, we have to live in a simple manner. For example, instead of using sprays while taking bath, we have to be satisfied simply with water.

Instead of using Air-Conditioners, Fans, and Refrigerators which consume lot of energy, we have to follow the old way of living. We have to make the best use of environment through conservation, recycling, and disciplined and simple living.

How to Study Human Behavior

The study of human behavior has played an important role in improving the lives of people who have mental health and behavioral disorders. It has also facilitated advancements in areas such as early childhood education, organizational behavior management, and public health. Professionals who are interested in how to study human behavior are driven to know why people make decisions, with the goal of better understanding the decision-making process.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a behavioral science discipline focused on the principles of behavior, learning, motivation, and methods of promoting behavior change. Behavior analysts may work in settings such as schools, private clinics, and community mental health centers. Their work involves using observation and data analysis to design and implement behavior change plans. Some behavior analysts also have specialties in counseling, psychology, or special education.

The following steps outline how a professional might pursue employment as a behavior analyst.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Many students begin their careers in behavior analysis by earning a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or psychology. Through coursework, students examine different perspectives of biological, societal, and economic influences on human behavior.

Students can begin working after graduation in select fields such as substance abuse, behavioral disorders, or mental health counseling, depending on the state and employer. Professionals who hold a bachelor’s degree can also work towards the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)® credential, gaining on-the-job experience under a certified analyst.

Step 2: Earn a Master’s Degree

After earning a bachelor’s degree, professionals who are interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)® must obtain a masters degree in applied behavior analysis, psychology, or education. Coursework in a two-year ABA master’s program covers topics such as behavior assessment, treatment evaluation, and ethics. Students are taught how to apply behavioral theories to help clients individuals with psychological or medical disorders, autism spectrum disorders, or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities,.

As part of the master’s program, students are exposed to clinical experience in an applied behavior analysis clinical setting. For example, students may work on-site with providers of services for children who have autism. In this environment, students complete assessments, design behavior analytic programs, and collaborate on projects with other professionals. The type of clinical placement, minimum work hours, and supervisory requirements vary. In a standard clinical experience, ABA program faculty oversee student placement and supervision.

Step 3: Working as a Behavior Analyst

Demand for certified ABA professionals increased nearly 800 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to a recent study by workforce analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies. With indications that the market will continue to grow in the upcoming years, this is an excellent employment climate for professionals who want to learn how to study human behavior.

Upon completing a master’s in ABA program, some professionals seek certifications such as the BCBA credential. To qualify for examination, candidates must pass an exam and meet various educational and clinical experience requirements, which are set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) ®.

While compensation varies by state, employer, and work setting, the average national salary for a board-certified behavior analyst is about $58,000, according to PayScale. Professionals who are just beginning their careers may earn closer to $55,000, while analysts who have over 10 years of experience may average $68,000 per year.

To remain at the top of their profession, certified behavior analysts are required to maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits every 2-3 years. These credits can be earned in several ways: by completing additional post-secondary coursework, attending presentations at conferences, instructing classes, or writing for journal publications. Additionally, BCBA’s who have completed a doctoral degree may apply for the BCBA-D certification. While a BCBA-D does not exceed the BCBA credential, doctorate-level analysts may assume greater responsibilities such as overseeing the work of master’s-level analysts.

Designed for students from a wide variety of health science backgrounds, the online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Regis College is structured to prepare graduates for success in a variety of possible career fields. The program blends research and hands-on experience, and offers coursework in behavior assessment, treatment evaluation, ethical practices, and other related areas.

Individuals who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of human behavior and preparing for an exciting career are encouraged to learn more about the MS in ABA degree program offered by Regis College.

What Is Behavioral Learning?

Behavioral learning isn't just a theory of interest to those in education, though they should certainly be familiar with it. Parents and people in other leadership positions should also have an interest in understanding perceptions of how people learn. However, all of us learn, and all of us learn differently so everyone should have an interest in the theory.

Here, we'll take a look at behavioral learning theory, including its history and how it impacts learners and educators.

Watson And Behaviorism

As we will see, behavioral learning is a concept of educational psychology used by behaviorists. As a result, before we discuss behavioral learning, it may be helpful to have an understanding of who the behaviorists are.

Behaviorism began as a school of psychology by the American psychologist John Watson in 1913. At this time, the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud and later his student Carl Jung ruled the psychological landscape. Psychoanalysis stresses the importance of the unconscious mind, which can only be interpreted through interactions like dreams, hypnosis, etc.

Behaviorists like Watson believed that if psychology - then increasingly popular but still a fairly new science - were to be taken seriously, it would need to put more emphasis on the study of observable behaviors. Behaviorists also believed that psychoanalysts put too much emphasis on the experiences in early childhood.

A belief that behaviorism was dangerously reductionist just as psychoanalysis was dangerously openminded would later lead to the founding of humanistic psychology by psychologists like Carl Rogers. While humanistic psychology would largely take the place of earlier psychological schools, behaviorism and the work of early behaviorists remains important.

Pavlov, Classical Conditioning, And Behavioral Learning

Behavioral learning is a school of study that focuses on how individuals learn and how an individual's learning can be measured. One of Watson's early tenants of behaviorism was that humans learn in the same way that animals do. This opened up the door to some of the earliest animal studies. Or, at least, the earliest animal experiments in psychology.

These were the experiments of Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov's famous experiments found that he could train dogs to associate sounds with feeding. He was even able to calculate the degree to which dogs associated food with the sound based on the volume of saliva that they produced when they heard the sound. This also satisfied the behaviorism requirement of being able to measure the response through observation rather than through implication.

Associating a concept with a stimulus because of repeated exposure to both is called "classical conditioning" and is one of the main methods of behavioral learning.

Skinner, Operant Conditioning, And Behavioral Learning

Another early contributor to behavioral learning theory was B.F. Skinner. While you may not be familiar with the term, you're probably familiar with the concept of operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is composed of positive and negative reinforcement. Most people think that positive conditioning means that you give the subject something that they want, and that negative reinforcement means that you give the subject something that they don't want, but this is not the case.

In positive reinforcement, the subject is given something when something happens. In negative reinforcement, something is taken from the subject when something happens. In this way, operant conditioning is similar to classical conditioning but is used to persuade or dissuade a behavior.

Positive and negative reinforcement can both be used to either persuade or dissuade an activity. For example, hitting a dog because it soiled the carpet is technically positive reinforcement because an intervention is introduced when something occurs. If - and this would be awful - you played loud music that your dog hated until it did something that you wanted, that would be an example of negative reinforcement because an intervention is being removed when something occurs.

There aren't a lot of examples of quantitative analysis in the case of operant conditioning like there are in classical conditioning. However, operant conditioning still meets the requirement of proving that something has or hasn't been learned based on the subject's observable behavior.

Albert Bandura And Observational Learning

Classical and operant conditioning are both forms of associative learning. Associative learning involves the direct experiences of the subject. However, according to a later psychologist, Albert Bandura, a subject doesn't need to experience any stimulus to learn a behavior.

According to Bandura, a subject can also learn behavior by watching someone else perform that behavior through a process called "social learning." This is also called "observational learning."

Observational learning is not entirely removed from associative learning. The behavior that a subject learns from a model can be the action that is encouraged or discouraged be subsequent classical or operant conditioning. Further, other subjects can use observational learning to have actions encouraged or discouraged by seeing what happens to another model when they act.

This sounds complicated but consider the following example. A boy hears his father swear and swears around his friends. This is observational learning. When the boy swears around his friends, they think that he is cool. This is positive conditioning, but if it happens repeatedly, it can also be a form of classical conditioning. However, if the boy swears around his mother, he may be grounded - an example of negative reinforcement. Further, if the boy has a younger sister who witnesses him getting grounded for swearing, she might learn not to swear because of seeing the consequences of her brother - another example of observational learning.

Behavioral Learning As An Educational Tool

Behavioral learning has perhaps been most influential in the field of education, specifically early childhood education. Positive and negative reinforcement are often used to teach children how they are expected to behave. Consider the rewards, privileges, and punishments that are doled out in the public school system. Some social historians also suggest that the bells that call students to order and dismiss them were instituted as a method of classical conditioning to prepare them for the bells that once announced the beginnings and ends of shifts in industrial settings. Schools also take advantage of observational learning when one student is punished as an example to the others.

Of course, behavioral learning isn't only used for discipline. Observational learning is also important for learning actions and social norms from observing others. Particularly in physical education, students learn how to perform actions by watching a teacher and following along.

Observational learning seldom ends in the classroom. Many people watch training videos at work and turn to how-to videos on the internet for things like home improvements.

Behavioral Learning And Criminal Justice

Behavioral learning is also employed in the criminal justice system, where undesirable actions earn undesirable consequences. This is an example of operant conditioning, but concepts like prison are also used for social learning. It could be said that sentencing is just as much about dissuading actions by the public as it is about punishing actions by the offender.

The twentieth-century philosopher Michel Foucault turned the idea of observational learning in criminal justice on its head with his "panopticon" theory. This theory suggested that the average person is so afraid of being observed doing something undesirable that creating the illusion that they are being observed is enough to prevent that behavior.

Behavioral Learning And Biology

Operant conditioning is used to teach subjects, but it is also used in animal experiments to test animals for things like memory. If a subject can perform an action that results in an award, it's safe to assume that the subject has learned that it can get a reward by performing that action. If the subject doesn't act on repeated incidences of that action resulting in a reward, it is often assumed that the subject is cognitively incapable of forming connections between the action and the reward.

Behavioral Learning And Psychology

Behaviorism has greatly contributed to our understanding of how we learn, but it isn't only educational psychology.

As a psychological school, behaviorists have also contributed to our clinical understanding of how the mind works and why we do what we do. Behavioral therapy is now one of the most common kinds of talk therapy. In behavioral therapy, the patient or client learns how to understand the internal and external motivations and reservations that drive their behavior. This allows them to cultivate positive behaviors and gradually stop doing negative behaviors.

Further Resources

To learn more about behaviorism and other schools of psychology, continue scrolling through the site for other educational articles like this one.

For more practical help, you can also reach out to a therapist or counselor through your internet connection, such as on a platform like BetterHelp.

Above we mentioned that behavioral therapy is one of the most common types of talk therapy. Because of this, researchers have also spent a lot of time looking at how effective it is when it&rsquos delivered online instead of in person. A recent publication looked at more than 350 peer-reviewed studies to highlight that online cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective as traditional in-person therapy and helps improve access to healthcare.

The study also points out another benefit: online therapy is often less expensive than traditional therapy. And with flexible scheduling, you can connect with your counselor anywhere you&rsquore comfortable and have secure internet.

Here are reviews by recent BetterHelp users about their counselors:

&ldquoThis is the therapist of all therapists. She is organized, and above all else considerate, kind and extremely thoughtful and delivering her skills in helping a client identify, challenge and change patterns of behavior, and helping her clients process their thoughts and feelings in a way that feels safe and validating. Truth? You&rsquod be a silly Willy not to schedule with her IF she has an opening that is!! :) thank you Rachel for all your incredible help!&rdquo Read more on Rachel McClain.

&ldquoJoe is a really awesome guy and therapist. His counselling has helped me so much these past 6 months! Joe really makes you feel not just listened to, but understood and heard. He was also great about recommending specific and easy to implement behavioral practices and techniques for my life that I use everyday. Highly recommended.&rdquo Read more on Joe Chambers.


When something happens that we find difficult to accept, then we will make up a logical reason why it has happened.

The target of rationalization is usually something that we have done, such as being unkind to another person. It may also be used when something happens independent of us which causes us discomfort, such as when a friend is unkind to us.

We not only rationalize actions and the things we have done, we also find reason for our beliefs, models, values and other inner structures and thoughts. These systems are often implied in rationalization statements.

We rationalize to ourselves. We also find it very important to rationalize to other people, even those we do not know.

9 Defense Mechanisms People Commonly Hide Behind

Most defense mechanisms are rooted in our subconscious, which means we do not know when we are using them.

In psychodynamic theory, psychologists describe defense mechanisms as a way of distancing ourselves from being fully aware of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

We are all said to use defense mechanisms at some point in our lives, but if you are strong mentally and well-balanced, you tend not to have to. A mentally strong person will not feel the need to hide behind a defense mechanism, moreover, they are fully equipped to deal with unpleasant thoughts or truths.

In reality, it is the mentally weak that resort to defense mechanisms.

Here are some of them and their meanings:

1. Denial

This is the most simple of all the defense mechanisms to explain. If a situation is just too much for a person to deal with, they will deny it ever happened at all. This is considered by psychologists to be the most primitive of all defense mechanisms and has roots in childlike behaviour where the child sticks their fingers in their ears so not to hear the truth.

Many people who have problems use denial as a way of coping, for instance, the alcoholic that denies their drinking is ruining relationships or the smoker who doesn’t believe that smoking is bad for them.

2. Regression

When we are faced with a stressful situation, we often resort to childish behaviour in order to deal with what is happening at that time. We might start exhibiting childish behaviour, for instance, teenagers taught sex education might giggle to cover up their embarrassment. Or an adult who is under an enormous amount of stress might not be able to get out of bed, a comforting place that reminds them of their safe childhood.

3. Repression

Repression is an unconscious mechanism that prevents the mind from retrieving upsetting thoughts or actions. Thoughts that result in the person feeling guilt are most typically repressed, although ones where the person is themselves harmed both mentally or physically are also commonly repressed. The mind keeps these thoughts in the subconscious, as to let them become known to the person would cause damage to one’s psyche.

4. Projection

Projection is when a person attributes their own feelings and motives to another person. They are typically aggressive, sexual or thoughts of extreme hatred towards another.

The person feeling these thoughts cannot accept that they are the ones thinking them, so instead of dealing with it, they project them onto someone else. For instance, a partner might not be happy about their spouse’s choice of friend, when in fact, they are the one who has dodgy alliances.

5. Displacement

Displacement relates to re-directing anger from one target to another that is powerless to fight back. For instance, someone who has had a hard day at work might come home and kick the dog.

This is redirecting their anger and aggression from the real cause, their work, to the dog. The person cannot direct his anger at his boss for overworking him so he takes it out on the dog instead.

6. Rationalization

Rationalization is twisting the facts to better serve our reality. It is putting something in a different light in order to make ourselves feel better about the situation. So a person who had just got an amazing job, for instance, and then is fired two weeks later, might say that the firm was rubbish and they didn’t want the job in the first place.

7. Reaction Formation

This is the opposite of denial but where a person starts to behave in the complete opposite of how she or he really feels. For instance, a man who is in power and rigorously makes hateful statements about homosexuals, might themselves feel homosexual tendencies. Typically, the remarks are outlandish and harsh and serve to make the person’s stance clear on certain issues.

8. Compensation

Compensation is where a lack of knowledge in one area is counterbalanced by a strength in another. A person might say that they can’t play an instrument but they have an amazing singing voice. By stating their strengths, they are compensating for what is perceived as a weakness by others.

9. Intellectualization

Intellectualization is where a person overthinks the situation and cannot deal with the associated emotions or feelings that come with it.

For instance, a person who has had a cancer diagnosis might focus on the ins and outs of all the medical procedures and not want to express their grief or sadness at the diagnosis.

There are defense mechanisms that are good for you, for example, sublimation, in which a person uses their troubles to create something positive, is a productive defense mechanism. The trick is to use helpful defense mechanisms and knowing which ones are detrimental to your mental health.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

It’s not just mentally weak people, Mentally strong people can also be pushed past their limits, and you’ve got to have an outlet one way or another. If there’s no “appropriate” way to relieve your frustrations, you’ve still got to do it.

I have been diagnosed with a mental illness but totally reject the notion that I am mentally weak. Mental illness has nothing to do with ‘weak’ or ‘strong’. It is an illness. The rest of the article is very good.

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Correctional Officer

Correctional counselors, probation officers and parole officers work in the criminal justice system. They provide direction and resources designed to rehabilitate inmates and offenders on probation. Their goal is to identify and mitigate behaviors that have gotten the offender into trouble. Referrals might be made to job training, substance abuse treatment and anger management classes.

These counselors and officers observe and intervene when they see behaviors that suggest a lack of commitment to goals. For example, they address suspected violations of the terms and conditions of probation, like a failed drug test or a missed therapy session. Other responsibilities include documenting progress and relapses. They may be asked to write court reports and testify, too.

A bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences, criminal justice or a closely related field is typically required. State laws vary, but you may also need to complete a government-sponsored training program and seek certification. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that correctional and probation officers earn an average annual salary of $59,910 as of May 2019.

Peer Influences on Addiction

Clayton Neighbors , . Nicole Fossos , in Principles of Addiction , 2013

Social Learning Theory and Social Cognitive Theory

Social Learning Theory applies to several human behavior theories in which the acquisition and maintenance of behaviors such as addictive behaviors depend on the connections between personal factors, environmental factors, and the behavior. Social Learning/Cognitive Theory, to which Albert Bandura greatly contributed, focuses on several key constructs including differential reinforcement, vicarious learning, cognitive processes, and reciprocal determinism.

Differential reinforcement takes place when a behavior results in positive or negative consequences received from the environment or the self. This helps explain why behaviors may change with the environment. Note that consequences to behavior are often social consequences. For example, a teenager using cocaine with peers at a party may receive social approval however, the same behavior, if observed or discovered by parents or other authorities would likely result in strong disapproval and additional unwanted consequences for the teenager. The likelihood that this teenager will engage in cocaine use is greater if he or she has a positive perception and has less disapproving attitudes toward cocaine use.

Vicarious learning, or modeling, occurs by observation of others' behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of the behavior and can increase the likelihood of the observer engaging in the behavior. Role models such as peers and parents affect expectancies, evaluations, and self-efficacy related to the observed behavior. Thus, even as the consequences we associate with our own behavior shape our future behavior, observing others' consequences associated with their behavior can also shape our behavior (see below for more detail).

Cognitive processes include encoding, organizing, and retrieving information, and these are postulated to regulate behavior and environmental events. An individual cognitively processes information from the environment and determines their behavioral response. Self-regulation can be defined as the ability to arrange environmental incentives and apply consequences. Thus, self-regulation need not be limited to one's ability to choose how to respond in specific situations but can also be applied to one's ability to make choices that affect the degree of exposure to specific influences. For example, if Clyde does not want to smoke marijuana and realizes that he has difficulty saying no to Paul or Mike, he can avoid Paul and Mike as a means of regulating his behavior. A related construct is self-efficacy, which can be defined as the belief that one can engage in a specific behavior and/or produce a specific desired outcome. Self-efficacy can be thought of as context-specific confidence. The extent to which Clyde believes he will be able to resist an offer to smoke marijuana is an example of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy effects and is affected by behavior. The more confidence Clyde has in his ability to resist peer influence, the more successful he will be in doing so. In turn, successful instances of resistance will increase self-efficacy to resist in the future. Furthermore, seeing a peer resist influence can boost one's self-efficacy in resisting peer influence.

Reciprocal determinism describes the associations between behavior and environmental and personal factors, each of which is affected by the other two factors. For example, peers and social environments affect subsequent smoking behaviors, and vice versa.

Is rationalization needed for learning human behaviors? - Psychology

Human behavior psychology is a very complex topic, no matter how you try to discuss it or even attempt an explanation of how and why we function the way we do! According to a few well-known psychologists "Myers-Briggs" and "Keirsey" there are about sixteen distinct personality types, which defines our personality. And somewhere mixed into all of this information they can tell us if we are either a extroverted or introverted type of person. You know the "Mouse" and "Lion" type's.

If you want to learn more about your own personality, here would be a good place to start looking. Note! Be sure to make your way back here and finish the rest of the review. We'll leave the lights on.

Now! That you're back, you can see why we're not going into any great length, accept to say, its well beyond the scope of what we are doing here today.

Nevertheless, after all the things we do and don't know about human behavior and our different personalities and anxieties. Ranking very high on our list of anxieties, we find things like, the fear of death and taxes and many more things we humans fear. And very high on the list of fears we humans have is the fear of "Speaking in public."

Its important to note that no two people will react the same to any given event that may be on there list of things they fear. So you may also have many of the same fears they do and didn't realize it! But a good number of us do have one thing in common, that is when we suddenly find ourselves thrust into the lime light, so to speak, facing a group of people with the task of presenting a report or a presentation of some type, will or I should say we typically will go immediately into and experience various of stages of stage fright or even experience an anxiety attack at the mere mention of public speaking.

This condition can range anywhere from just having a very mild case of the jitters and being a little nervous about speaking or it can effect a person up to a point where the person is rendered completely unable to speak a word or they may even pass out cold!

Why? Because it is considered a normal behavioral trait that we humans all have. We usually exhibit these types of symptoms, plus a few more, when we are suddenly taken outside of our own comfort zone. Once we're forced outside of our comfort box, we immediately begin looking for ways to return to the relative safety and comfort of our own little world. First we begin by "Visualizing" the worst and then verbalizing to ourselves, saying things like " Why me, No way, I would rather die first, than speak before a group of people." Or am just going to embarrass myself, because I do not have a clue where to start or what to say, these are just a few of the many excuses we will use to retreat with if possible back to our own little space we call our comfort zone, where we are in control again of our non-treating environment.

All of us at times have experienced these very same feeling and have made similar excuses in the hopes it would keep us from doing something we didn't want to do or we felt uncomfortable about doing. What we are really saying to ourselves is that we lack self-confidence in ourselves.

A reality check is in order here! Many may consider yourself as an expert in your chosen field, but the simple truth of the matter is just because you now have decided to become an instructor, lecturer, speaker or teacher in some form in your chosen field, that alone in themselves does not shield you or me from experiencing or showing signs of even the most basic human emotions, such as nervousness, stage fright or anxiety. In some cases experiencing these emotions are enough to make even the most experienced amongst us want to run away and hide.

Those who are seeking to become a instructor/trainer should have a working knowledge of the Principles of Educational and Human Behavior Psychology. However, this is not a mandatory requirement you must do before you can teach others. Nevertheless, taking on the role as a professional trainer and being familiar with the terms and principles of teaching others is, anyone considering entering the training world should have a good working knowledge of the principles used. The better you understand how we humans function when it comes to learning and how we learn and what motivate us to learn, the more successful you will be as an instructor/trainer. However, for now only the areas that deals directly with the learning process will be briefly discussed here today.

First things first, what is a definition of learning? We all know we begin the learning process the day we are born, and it continues until the day we die. What happens to a person when they are learning? What process does he or she go through? (I have to say at this point, we are still learning how we learn things, it's still an on going learning process.)

We mainly learn new things because of our individual experiences, which may change our way of thinking, feeling, doing, or seeing the world around us. So basically, it would be safe to say learning is a change in behavior as the result of an experience. This change or learning, can be openly observed or it can be in the mind as a feeling, which is hard to see at times.

The characteristics of learning, learning concepts and generalizations, the laws of learning, factors that affect learning, and the transfer of learning are the many things that we need to understand as trainers. The more we do understand the learning process it only increases our chances of creating an effective learning environment and becoming a successful trainer.

Let's work our way through some of these learning processes by starting with:


Most people have a very definite ideals of what they want to do and achieve. A student brings his or her goals into the classroom. Some of these goals may be very personal and some they will share with you and their classmates. A student will learn best what will help them meet his or her goals. The learner's goal or purpose is of chief importance in the act of learning. A good instructor tries to relate learning material to the student's goal.

Learning comes through experience. Learning is a very individual process and must be done by the student themselves . . . the instructor cannot do this for them. Research has concluded that learning and knowledge is a part of a person. A person knowledge is gained from his or her experiences, and no two people react to the experience the same way. Each learns different things depending on how the situation affects their different needs. Previous experience conditions a person to respond to some things and to ignore others. Some experiences involve the individual as a whole, while others involve only their eyes, ears, and memory.

There are a number of factors in combination that affect the way in which an individual learns new information.

  • Sensory Modalities: Auditory, Visually, and Kinesthetic
  • Reasoning Types: deductive, inductive
  • Learning Environment: interpersonal (working with others), interpersonal (working alone)

Sensory Modalities:

Prefer verbal instructions to written ones.
Is comfortable using spoken reinforcement mentally as well as aloud?

Does well with reading comprehension?
Prefers maps to verbal directions.

Touching - hands-on
Writing things down clarifies thoughts.
Likes to draw pictures.
Enjoys working with hands-likes lab classes.

Reasoning Type:

Studies premise first, then draw conclusions.
Sees big picture first, then looks for details.

Likes to see examples first when learning new information before developing an overview.
Prefers to learn game rules as it is played, not beforehand.

Learning Environment:

Interpersonal: working alone.
Likes to solve problems by oneself.
Does not like to work or study in groups?

Interpersonal: working with others.
Prefers discussion with family and friends before decision is made.
Likes to do assignments and study with others.

Do know how do you take in your information? To determine which methods you prefer, turn to "Appendix A" in the back of your training manual and take a few minutes to complete a learning inventory sheet. The information from the learning inventory is a brief inventory to assist you in determining your own style of learning. Use the information from this user friendly inventory to discover your own learning strengths which will help you maximize information gathering.

When everyone is finished let's all take a ten minute break!

Now your chance to take a break also. Back to the top or you may continue on, it's your choice!

Now, that you have an indication of your own style of learning, you can see that as an trainer you must provide to your students with experiences that are meaningful, varied and appropriate to the situation. It's not as easy as it sounds, but every effort on your part to provide an learning environment where the student can use their individual learning styles pay's off big both for your students and you. However, it requires you to work at it, you need to be creative, innovative, and challenging to your students.

For instance, by repetitious drill, a student can learn a long laundry list of principles, for example leadership. But the list is useless if one can't apply them correctly in real life situations. A person can do this if their learning experience has been both extensive and meaningful and they understand how to apply the principles. The learning experience which challenges the student requires involvement with feelings, thoughts, memory of past experiences, and physical activity is much better than just requiring the student to memorize a long list of things

Learning is a multifaceted process too. An instructor or teacher who thinks his or her job is only to train a student's body or memory is wasting their own and as well as the students time. Students may learn much more than the instructor planned or intended, because, as humans, they do not leave their thinking mind or feelings at home. As an example, a student studying Aircraft Maintenance may be learning to perform a check on a particular piece of equipment. However, in the process, they are learning new concepts and generalizations. The student may also be learning new uses for the principles of electronics. And may become more interested in black boxes and learn something about handling electronic equipment in general.

This experience results in changes in the students way of seeing, thinking, feeling, reacting and doing, even though the instructor's primary objective was to teach the student how to read a multi meter. Students in a classroom may also be learning cooperation, elements of good dynamics, and good and bad attitudes about life in general. The list is endless and is sometimes referred to as incidental, but it still has a great impact on the learning situation.

/>Learning is an active process. Never assume anything just because it is obvious to you. All too often, after an instructor has taught a lesson many times in the past, he or she will teach the subject strictly out of habit. Instead of watching their students, he or she becomes a robot, who walks into the classroom and begins talking. As if they had just push there on button, and the words begin to flow non-stop, but their minds are elsewhere.

How can this be avoided? Keep everyone active in the class, the students as well as the instructor. The more active a student is involved in the class, the greater their chances are for both learning and remembering. (If a student is to learn, they must react and respond. They are not a sponge that will soak up knowledge like water. The response may be outward or inward.) Since learning is a change in behavior as a result of experience, the interaction between students and instructor must be active. This action can be either answering the instructor questions, or working a practice exercise. The responsibility of creating active student participation lies with the instructor.

We have cover a lot up to now, for those who are reading this we have just scratched the surface a little. During the basic instructor course we cover the rest of this topic and the ones listed below.

COVID-19 Backgrounders

Through an ongoing series of “backgrounders,” APS is exploring many of the psychological factors that can help the public understand and collectively combat the spread of COVID-19. Each backgrounder features the assessments, research, and recommendations of a renowned subject expert in the field of psychological science.

• Social Impact on Children: Vanessa LoBue, Rutgers University

• Social Impact on Adults: Chris Segrin, University of Arizona

• Working Remotely: Tammy Allen, University of Southern Florida

• Marriages and Close Relationships: Paula Pietromonaco, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Continued exposure and chronic anxiety can worsen outcomes.

This is unquestionably a period where people are experiencing an enormous amount of stress, given the large demands the situation is placing on our daily lives—the changes in our routines and structures that we typically rely on, and the uncertainty surrounding how long this is going to last and what the ultimate impact is going to be on our families, our communities, and our workplaces. Psychological science has taught us quite clearly that in situations of mass trauma or mass stress, like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, there’s a very clear link between the degree of media exposure that people have and their symptoms of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
APS Member Katie McLaughlin, Harvard University, APS roundtable discussion

Decades of scientific research show that how we make meaning out of situations can leave us vulnerable to unhelpful, out-of-proportion anxiety. When our environment is inherently ambiguous—open to interpretation and unknown outcomes—our interpretations matter. They matter a lot. Ambiguity breeds anxiety more so when the “facts” change hourly.
APS Fellow Lori Zoellner, University of Washington, writing (with others) for The Seattle Times

Humans often can develop a robust and pathological fear of things that might not happen, to create realities that don’t exist. In the old days, the virus update would be a mention on the 6 o’clock news, but today, it’s tweets and Facebook posts 24/7. Fears can be learned. If you’re communicating with people online who are afraid or are seeing people online who are afraid, that exposure is more likely to invoke fear in you.
APS William James Fellow Elizabeth Phelps, Harvard University, quoted in USA Today

The work that I’ve been doing with colleagues since the September 11th terrorist attacks tells me the very important role the media can play in coping with this kind of a crisis. I would be very cautious for people to seek out information from authoritative sources and to make sure that they check out the messaging that they’re receiving to ensure that it’s accurate. In addition, we want to encourage people to monitor how much time they’re spending immersed in the news about COVID-19 and try to break away, engage in some sort of downtime so that they can cope as best as possible.
APS Fellow Roxane Cohen Silver, University of California, Irvine, APS interview/podcast

Human beings are inherently social, not solitary, creatures. When people’s actual or achieved social contact falls below their desired level of social contact, they begin to feel lonely, and loneliness is stressful. The stress of loneliness degrades mental and physical health (e.g., cardiovascular fitness, immune fitness) through disruption of recuperative behaviors (e.g., sleep, leisure) and corruption of health behaviors (e.g., substance use, diet, exercise).
APS Member Chris Segrin, APS Backgrounder series