Why Self-Modeling Works:

  • It shows a person the skills and details that they need to perform a desired behavior.
  • It can raise a person's self-efficacy, or confidence to perform the behavior or skill that he or she is performing on video.
  • It can provide a concrete and visual goal to help a person achieve the desired behavior.

Videotaped Self-Modeling (VSM)


“Videotaped self-modeling is defined by Dr. Peter Dowrick of The University of Hawaii as the procedure of using carefully planned and edited positive self-images of adaptive-only behavior on video. The goal of VSM is to change the frequency or quality of a person's behavior. By using basic video production techniques, images of behaviors which pose special challenges for individuals can be altered or enhanced. Self-modeling involves creative planning and editing to produce a short video approximately two or three minutes long. Students view their video several times over a two week period and a parent or educator notes their reactions and changes toward the predetermined goals. Modeling is a powerful way to learn. Peer models closest to the observer in all characteristics have been shown to have the most impact. Thus, having the students view themselves doing the modeling has the potential to cause even greater change. What better model than seeing ourselves performing at our best? With the simple use of a camcorder and VCR individuals are able see themselves mastering new skills, accepting new situations comfortably, living their future dreams. There are very few issues that self-modeling cannot change. The only requirement is that the person wants to change and the desired change is realistic. Perhaps because of its self-modeling aspect, Videotaped Self-modeling often succeeds where conventional methods have failed.

Two of the effects of VSM that seem to be consistent across studies are: 1) Skills and behaviors generalize; and 2) Improvement occurs rapidly. Both of these aspects are hard to find in intervention methods”

Sources: Dr. Peter Dowrick, of The University of Hawaii, and Dr. Tom Buggey, of The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

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