A Self-Control Project

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Earning one token on the first day was a solid start. The token was obtained by clasping my hands five times and biting my nails twice, for a total of three times of hand clasping. On the second day, two tokens were acquired and one was lost. There was three pieces of schoolwork to complete, and each arrived with worry and caution, forcing an attempt to bite the nail. There was no tension and hence nothing to provoke nail-biting for the entire day on days when there was no school, such as the fifth day of the therapy phase. That day, one token was received for clasping hands three times. The first week of treatment saw a total of six token earned. It surpassed the five times that was a weekly target. The second week of treatment recorded few nail-biting behaviors. A total of ten four tokens was earned making it to ten for the entire treatment period. This was the targeted amount of token. One can say that the behavior change was started working as seen in the reduced number of nail-biting during the second week of the treatment phase. It was easy to clasp the hands tightly instead of nail biting. It is not an easy step in changing behavior, but with a target in mind, one can have records of the times they moved or tried moving from the old behavior to the one they desire. The behavior change, therefore, must have a clear direction and plan. It is also better to have something that entices one to change the behavior or try changing the behavior. In this project, the targeted number of tokens to earn per week and at the end of the project is what made it possible to achieve success in changing of behavior using the ABC behavioral change chart.

The baseline period recorded a total of twenty-four positive reinforcements. It means that there were twenty-four pleasant stimuli added in the process that increases the future behavior. Consequently, there were four positive punishments, which showed a decrease in the future behavior. It is the addition of stimulus that would reduce the future behavior. Also, there was only one negative punishment (P-) during the baseline period. to mean that just one unpleasant stimulus got eliminated during the entire project. It shows that more issues were resulting in positive reinforcement as compared to the negative ones or the punishments, both negative and positive. The desire to change the old behavior, therefore, was more than any other thing that could have taken me back to the hangnail biting behavior. Treatment phase was used to improve the behavior after understanding the baseline of the behavior. And this makes it possible to set the change towards a positive direction.

Using ABC chart to change one's behavior, attention should go to the antecedents, which are the setting events or those that precedes the desired behavior. They usually contribute to the behavior that one wants to change and therefore the way we respond to them is an important part of the process change. Further, the targeted behavior must be analyzed and well because it should be the replacement of the old or undesired one. It must be something achievable, and the ways of achieving it must be clear. For example, in this project, nail-biting was the undesired behavior that comes because of anxiety, cautiousness among others. To replace it, the desired behavior that would also help in responding to the stressing or introduction of events causing anxiety. Setting a target is important as it will be a motivating factor in achieving the desired behavior with ease. To my project, the target was the tokens I was to earn from resisting the previous behavior of biting the nail. Once one is motivated, the behavior will be changed easily within a short period. It is all about self-control, if one can be disciplined enough, this technique would easily be helpful in achieving their desired behavior.

In conclusion, behavior change procedures and processes should be taken one step at a time. The ABC concept is that the behavior should seem like a function of the environment and the person in question. It means there is always something that happens to precede the behavior normally referred to as antecedent. It causes the behavior and results in consequence. Self-control helps people to come in line with the ideal values, morals as well as the social expectation. Whereas some people punish their children to achieve these behaviors, ABC is an alternative that can change one's behavior without inflicting pain on them. Self-control gives a proper way of making the right decisions as well as the pursuit of life. The basis of ABC concept lies on small changes that will eventually bring significant differences in ones’ change of behavior.

The purpose of the study design to increase the target behavior of clasped hand to decrease biting hangnail behavior. So, took a total of three weeks to complete experiment, one week for baseline phase and two weeks for treatment phase. However, clasped hands helped to decrease biting hangnails behavior. The result did not show the big difference, but still, it showed a difference in behavior. As look Figure 1, the baseline graph is more zigzaggy, but treatment phase graph has less zigzaggy than baseline graph. I engaged more my target behavior when I am more relaxed and under moderate stresses, but bitten hangnails under big stresses. Strengths of this study were that participant could do their target behavior anywhere without disturbing others. Also, every time I engage any behavior, I can look back on my behavior and always remind myself. The weaknesses were that study was too short, and only one participant participated. If more participants are participating for a longer time with more treatment, then this study could have a more various result and more specific result. Such as ABABAB design or ABCBCBD design can bring more accurate result. If further research is done in the future, bringing more participants into a few groups and sharing a more prolonged period and a variety of treatment will make a better result.


The whole week involved the use of a memo app containing ABC chart and Tx chart designs. Whenever participant engaged target behavior or interfering behavior, participant write time, action, and consequence of memo app. ABC chart contains dates, time, antecedent, behavior, behavioral dimension, and consequence. Tx chart includes date, frequency, and the number of tokens. The participant needed a token economy as a reward for engaging target behavior and punishment for engaging interfering behavior. For token economy, the participant needed ten or more stickers and plain paper. The T-shirt served as backup for reinforcement when the participant collected ten stickers, and it is necessary for compensation.

April 19, 2023


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