Definitions

modification

weather modification

Deliberate or inadvertent alteration of atmospheric conditions by human activity, sufficient to modify the weather on a local or regional scale. Deliberate alterations include covering plants to keep them warm at night, seeding clouds to induce or augment precipitation, and firing silver-iodide particles into clouds to suppress or mitigate hail and to reduce fog at airports. Inadvertent alterations are the result of industrialization and urbanization, which have added billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other gases to the atmosphere (see acid rain, global warming, greenhouse effect).

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Intentional alteration of the human body for religious, aesthetic, or social reasons. Modifications and mutilations are performed for purposes such as magical protection, medical or pseudo-medical intervention, cosmetic enhancement, and punishment. Alterations include head flattening, insertion of a lip plug, tattoos, scarification, piercing of the ear and other parts of the body, circumcision, foot binding, and amputation. That similar modifications are interpreted very differently from one culture to the next is an excellent indication of the relativity of ideals of beauty and deformity.

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or behaviour modification

Application of experimentally derived principles of learning to the treatment of psychological disorders and the control of behaviour. The concept, which has its roots in the work of Edward L. Thorndike, was popularized in the U.S. by theorists of behaviourism, including B.F. Skinner. Behaviour-therapy techniques are based on the principle of operant conditioning, in which desired behaviours are rewarded. There is little or no concern for conscious experience or unconscious processes. Such techniques have been applied with some success to disturbances such as enuresis, tics, phobias, stuttering, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and various neuroses. Behaviour modification more generally refers to the application of reinforcement techniques for shaping individual behaviour toward some desired end or for controlling behaviour in classrooms or institutional situations. Seealso psychotherapy.

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