In today’s post, we are going to discuss pivotal behaviors. We previously introduced behavioral cusps in this post in hopes to eventually tackle pivotal behaviors. 

But let’s recap anyway: Once a behavioral cusp is learned, individuals can then access new environments, reinforcement, and contingencies. The example we used was language. When the child learns to use language, they can gain access new reinforcement (what they want/need/social interactions) and new environments. 

On the other hand, when a pivotal behavior is learned, other untrained behaviors may occur or occur in untrained environments. For example, if we teach a child how to approach others to use their language (self-initiation to request for items, engage in social interaction, etc.), the language the child uses with peers may be very different language used with adults, but this was not explicitly taught.

Are you still wondering what the difference is? We hope not! 

The Final Review:

  • Behavioral cusps allow for the individual to gain access to a variety new things (need different word)
  • Pivotal behaviors allow for untrained behaviors to occur

What did you think? Please let us know if you have questions or comments, we'd love to hear what examples you come up with!