But Wait…Are There More Than 4 Functions of Behavior? #PerceivedControl

So we know the four common functions of behavior…. Sensory/automatic, escape, attention and tangible #SEAT. If not, check out our blog post “What Are The 4 Functions of Behavior” to learn more.  However, there can be so many more functions of behavior. Have you ever considered control as a function of behavior? Let the bitches explain it to you, SNABA style!

Functions of Behavior: Behavior doesn’t just happen. There has to be a reason why… Scientifically we can test to see the function of a behavior, or why someone is doing it.

Perceived Control: Now undoubtedly, we have all met someone (not saying it’s you) that needs to have control over everything. Could control possibly work as a function of behavior? Well of course! If control is why a person is engaging in behavior then by definition that is the function.

What does that actually look like? Well, people can experience a perceived loss of control (actual or fictional) and engage in certain behaviors that are unique to themselves to regain a feeling of control.

*Perceived loss is important here… As long as the person feels control is lost, control can then become a function of behavior.* Listen to our Behavior Bitches Podcast Episode 123 “How Much Higher Can the Prices Be #InflationAF with Nicole Williams” to learn more about Perceived Loss. 


Real World Example

No matter where you live when a Broadcaster from a local news station announces that a bad storm is coming, some people set out to go to the grocery store. These folks cannot control the weather, but they can buy milk and eggs (even though they won’t eat them) from the grocery store to gain a sense of control over the situation.

Clinical Example

Monica works with a 4-year-old who is getting ready for Kindergarten placement. While working in the clinic he follows a therapist lead schedule and moves through 4 tasks that the therapist has selected. During supervision one day, Monica notices that when presented with Math manipulatives or worksheets, the client engages in problem behavior and takes several minutes to de-escalate. She asks the client if they like to do the math and they answer “no, math is hard”. Monica realizes that this challenge may influence the client’s need for control, and suggests to the therapist to let the client choose the order of the math tasks to do for the day. This choice allowed the client to regain a sense of control, decrease problem behavior and continue to complete math assignments for the day.

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