Behavior modification is considered a way of changing the behavior that is a problem to others. There are several principles in behavior which are used for this technique.
Behavior modification is commonly used in during a variety of clinical settings and is then considered to be behavior therapy. Another term sometimes used is operant conditioning or instrumental conditioning.
These types of treatment most often will use a reward system for reinforcing good behavior and some form of punishment to deal with bad behavior. When someone receives a reward for doing something well they will strive to continue earning these rewards. Therefore they will continue trying to do well.
Many psychologists believe that behavior modification should be viewed as an experimental procedure. However the basic principles have been in practice for many years. Many people have utilized many different methods for reaching the desired behavior in their children as well as in adults.
Several different sports use a reward system as well. Those who perform the best in competition are rewarded with prizes such as trophies and/or money. This practice is a form of behavior modification is its simplest form.
In many ways behavior modification is continuously evolving and changing. For children who are considered hyperactive or impulse, many want to find a way to change this type of behavior. Using a reward system may not be effective for some, so different approaches must be tried until one is found to help the problem.
Other ways that behavior modification is being used include for repeat offenders in a criminal setting. For non-violent crimes, the person will then be often released early from their prison sentence. While they will be placed on probation and required to check in periodically, as they continue their good behavior their appointments are reduced and many times they are allowed to be released from their probation early. When there is an ongoing problem, the people are placed back into prison.
The entire practice works on the basis of reward and punishment. If you are told not to do something and you do it anyway, there is usually some form of punishment such as touching a hot stove. If you touch a hot stove after being told not to, you will get burned. However if you take the advice and do not touch the stove you will not be burned. While not getting burned is not really considered a reward, it is considered to be a lack of punishment.