Functional Assessment: Predictors and Purposes of Problem Behavior (1049)
Veterinary Technology |  Behavior
Sunday | 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center||212B




Susan Friedman Ph. D., Professor Emeritus
Utah State University

Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. She has helped pioneer the cross-species application of behavior analysis to animals, using the same humane philosophy and scientifically sound teaching technology that has been so effective with human learners. She has written chapters in three veterinary texts, and her popular magazine articles have been translated into 12 languages ( She has given seminars on learning and behavior at conferences and zoos in many countries around the world. Teaching her on-line class for professionals, Living and Learning with Animals, has provided even wider dissemination of effective and humane behavior change practices.

Presentation Info

CE Credit(s): 1.00
CE Level: 2


Behavior is not something a animal has but rather something it does given some conditions and not others. When we think that problem behaviors are due to something inside the animal we naturally consider it the animal’s problem. When we think that problem behaviors are due to the conditions in which the behavior occurs, we try to change the conditions, that part of behavior problems we can do something about. In this presentation, a model for assessing how conditions set the occasion for and reinforce problem behaviors is discussed. This model, called functional assessment, reveals answers to the three fundamental behavior-change questions: What (identify the problem behavior in observable, unambiguous terms); when (predict the conditions under which it will occur and not occur); and, why (what purpose does it serve for the bird). With this model, a systematic intervention can be designed to make the problem behavior irrelevant, inefficient and ineffective.

Learning Objectives

1. To understand the smallest unit of behavior analysis, behavior by environment relations

2. To assess antecedent stimuli that signal problem behavior

3. To assess the consequences that influence the production of problem behavior