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Chris M.
Chris M., M.S.W. Social Work
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An experimenter interested in behavior modification decided

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An experimenter interested in behavior modification decided to develop a new cure for fingernail biting. The cure he devised was a variant of cognitive or covert behavior modification in which the client was supposed to think about unpleasant events each time he or she bit a fingernail. Specifically, the experimenter had college-aged participants who bit their nails come to his office for a training session. The participants were instructed to think about the horrible mutilation of their fingers each time they chewed on a fingernail. Furthermore, they were supposed to think about how childish and immature the habit was, and they were also supposed to imagine how revolting and disgusting the chewing of fingernails was. The psychologist examined the nails of his participants prior to the onset of the treatment and again three weeks later. The results showed that 87% of the students had significantly better fingernails two weeks later. The researcher concluded that the experiment was a success. The covert thoughts caused a marked decrease in nail biting.

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