Mands are verbal requests for “something”. This something can be a variety of things, ranging from attention to tangibles, escape, and help. The easiest way to remember what mands are, is to think of “mand” as short for “demand”. Anytime someone is asking, demanding, requesting a need or want, they are manding.

Because they are based on a need or a want, they are controlled by a person’s Motivating Operations (MO’s). MO’s are the antecedent situation that affect the value of a reinforcer (the consequence that will increase the probability of engaging in the mand in the future, if delivered when the current mand occurs).

Manding can include …

  • Appropriate vocal requests (“excuse me”, asking for a hug)
  • Inappropriate vocal requests (yelling)
  • Physical gestures and behaviors (tapping)
  • Maladaptive behaviors (tantrums)
  • Indirect vocal requests, such as someone stating they are lonely (expressing their covert behaviors out loud with intent to receive attention)

Manding for Attention

Any identifiable request for attention from others, whether it be vocal or physical attention.

MO Examples

  • Being home alone all day, can make engaging with others more valuable.
  • Your boss praising co-workers, can make your boss’s attention more valuable in that moment.

Manding for Escape

Requests for either removal of, break from, or termination of an aversive stimulus.

Escape and Avoidance … the same but different

  • EscapeAFTER in contact with an aversive stimulus and engage in a behavior that allows you to no longer deal with it.
  • Avoidance – You engage in a behavior that allows you to not deal with an aversive stimulus BEFORE you come in contact with it.

MO Examples

  • You were previously bitten by a dog and see one walking towards you.
  • You didn’t study for an upcoming test.
  • You are about to give a speech and begin to have feelings of anxiety building within you.
  • You have to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone.

Manding for Tangibles

Tangibles are any “thing”, which includes any items, objects, and activities. Tangibles can be thought of as any noun that someone might want or need.

… Items/Edibles

MO Examples

  • Haven’t eaten all day.
  • Currently or just finished exercising.
  • On a diet and haven’t eaten certain foods in a while.
  • You can only access certain toys/items at a specific location.

… Activities

MO Examples

  • Saw commercials for vacations.
  • See friends playing basketball, video games, etc.
  • It’s very hot and you want to cool off, so you begin to think about swimming or taking a cold shower.
  • Your favorite TV show only comes on Fridays and today is Friday.
  • You’ve been waiting for a new movie to come out and it comes out this weekend.

Manding for Help

Manding for help is more than just knowing what to say, its accepting the need to make the request despite feelings (private events / inner behaviors) of frustration, anxiety, anger, etc.

MO Examples

  • Having difficulty completing a task.
  • Can’t find something.
  • Having difficulty dealing with private events (e.g., feelings like anxiety and frustration).