Holiday-Themed Top Ten

We are all about connecting learning to life at UW-Green Bay, so we want to help you make the most of the holiday. We may be just a little late for this year, but if things didn’t go quite as you had planned this February 14th, start planning now for next year. Here are the Top Ten Ways that Behaviorism Can Improve Your Valentine’s Day.

10. That heart-shaped boxes of chocolates will have greater value if you deprive your partner of food for awhile first. 

9. Because they are not observable behaviors, love and happiness are unimportant. Explain to your partner that this is why he or she did not get a gift this year.

8. Token economies have shown great success in all sorts of settings, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t work in relationships. Don’t just give chocolates. Give tokens for positive behaviors that can be traded for chocolates. 

7. If you go out to dinner, try ordering “fixed interval scallops” as a joke. Your partner will be enamored by the clever behaviorism pun.  

6. To increase the speed of your partner’s lip-puckering, try ringing a bell each time you give him or her a kiss.

5.  Not only is saying “I love you” a bit of a cliché, it’s also meaningless in terms of behaviorism. Try saying something like, “Spending time with you has led to a sharp increase in smiling and laughing, as well as a significant decrease in frowning and crying.” Some sort of visual aid (a chart or graph depicting the change) might help drive the point home.  

4. Remember, punishment is the least effective way to change behavior. Try negative reinforcement instead. Make an aversive noise until your partner does what you want him or her to do.

3. Cards, chocolates, and flowers have little value as reinforcement. If you give a gift, make it cash.   

2. Since variable-ratio reinforcement schedules are best, flip a coin to determine if you will give your partner a gift this year. This should increase positive relationship behaviors in him or her.

1. If you actually tried any of these yourself this year, make sure to check out next month’s Top Ten Ways to get a New Partner Now that You’ve Screwed Up Valentine’s Day.