Many studies have shown that (a) functional communication training (FCT) is effective for reducing problem behavior, and (b) multiple schedules can facilitate reinforcer schedule thinning during FCT. Most studies tha have used multiple schedules with FCT have included therapist-arranged stimuli (e.g., colored cards) as the discriminative stimuli (SDs), but recently, researchers have evaluated similar multiple-schedule training procedures with naturally occurring SDs (e.g., overt therapist behavior). The purposes of the current study were to compare the effects of arranged and naturally occurring SDs directly during (a) acquisition of discriminated functional communication responses (FCRs) and (b) generalization of discriminated FCRs when we introduced the multiple schedules in novel contexts in which the naturally occurring stimuli were either relatively easy or difficult to discriminate. Results showed that (a) 2 of 3 participants acquired discriminated responding of the FCR more rapidly with arranged than with naturally occurring stimuli, (b) 2 of 3 participants showed resurgence of problem behavior, and (c) 2 of 3 participants showed greater generalization of discriminated responding to novel contexts with arranged stimuli than with naturally occurring stimuli. We discuss these results relative to the conditions under which naturally occurring and arranged SDs may promote rapid and generalized treatment gains.
- discriminative stimuli
- functional communication training
- multiple schedules
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science