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Question: look at the following social problems as a behaviorist would...

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Look at the following social problems as a behaviorist would. Suggest behavioral solutions for each.

1. Traffic! The problem of traffic gridlock in American cities continues to increase. Campaigns to encourage people to share a ride or take the bus have not been very successful. In one large city, commuters entering the city must cross one of several bridges to get to the area where office buildings and factories are concentrated. How could behavior modification be used to reduce the traffic congestion in the city?

2. The Homework Puzzle. An article published in The New York Times reported the results of a large-scale study on the benefits of homework for elementary school children. The study showed that the lowest-achieving children spent more time with homework than children with better grades. How can the longer time spent by the low-achieving children be explained? Why aren’t the children who spent more time with homework the ones who are making better grades?

3. Stars and Stickers. Should elementary school children receive material rewards for performance and cooperation? Imagine that you are a parent and that you have a child in the first grade. You have received a notice from the principal of the school that a program of tangible rewards (buttons, stickers, stars, bags of popcorn, cookies) is being considered. The notice compares tangible rewards for the children with the pay adults get for work. From what we know about behaviorism, is this a good idea? Explain why the extensive use of tangible rewards may backfire in this situation.

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