Basic and applied research on extinction bursts

Wayne W Fisher, Brian D. Greer, Timothy A. Shahan, Halle M. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discontinuation of the contingency between a response and its reinforcer sometimes produces a temporary increase in the response before its rate decreases, a phenomenon called the extinction burst. Prior clinical and basic studies on the prevalence of the extinction burst provide highly disparate estimates. Existing theories on the extinction burst fail to account for the dynamic nature of this phenomenon, and the basic behavioral processes that control response bursting remain poorly understood. In this paper, we first review the basic and applied literature on the extinction burst. We then describe a recent refinement of the concatenated matching law called the temporally weighted matching law that appears to resolve the above-mentioned issues regarding the extinction burst. We present illustrative translational data based conceptually on the model. Finally, we discuss specific recommendations derived from the temporally weighted matching law regarding procedures clinicians could implement to potentially mitigate or prevent extinction bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • extinction burst
  • problem behavior
  • temporally weighted matching law
  • translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Basic and applied research on extinction bursts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this