Setting the stage for academic success through antecedent intervention

Alicia M. Kruger, Whitney Strong, Edward J. Daly, Maureen O'Connor, Mackenzie S. Sommerhalder, Jill Holtz, Nicole Weis, Elizabeth J. Kane, Natalie Hoff, Allison Heifner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Behavior-analytic academic intervention research has gained popularity among school psychologists because it offers a unique combination of robust principles of behavior and a degree of clarity and precision about functional relationships that is unparalleled in other learning paradigms. This article reviews the literature for a type of antecedent manipulation that is well established in the field of applied behavior analysis, but which has been sorely neglected in the area of academic interventions: motivating operations (MOs). The existing literature suggests two strategies in particular that can be easily combined with existing interventions-choice and indiscriminable contingencies. These strategies can increase the relative strength of reinforcing consequences for correct responses to academic tasks. This article reviews the empirical support for the variety of ways in which each strategy can be implemented and ties their effects to the functional properties of MOs. To date, attempts to bring together in a single publication the most effective strategies falling under the conceptual umbrella of MOs and articulate their implications for academic interventions are lacking. The current article explains the potential role of MOs (and the associated intervention strategies) in academic interventions and provides guidance for their use as components that can be added to academic interventions. The application of MO manipulations is illustrated in a comparison of the effects of indiscriminable contingencies with high-preference consequences on the rate of math computation fluency for two elementary school children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Setting the stage for academic success through antecedent intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this