Stimulus control and resistance to extinction in attention-maintained SIB

Gregory P. Hanley, Cathleen C. Piazza, Wayne W. Fisher, John D. Adelinis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A functional analysis of the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of a young man diagnosed with severe mental retardation demonstrated that SIB was sensitive to social attention as reinforcement. In addition, lower but consistent rates of SIB occurred in sessions where a person was present (Demand and Toy Play), and a gradual decrease in SIB was observed across sessions where a person was not present analysis demonstrated that SIB maintained throughout each Social Attention session and declined within and across Along sessions. This patter of responding suggested that the presence of a person may have differentially affected rates of analysis, SIB was reduced to near-zero levels in the absence of a person, but maintained in the presence of a person even when attention was withheld, suggesting that the response was highly resistant to extinction. The results of these assessments then were used to develop a treatment to reduce the client's SIB. During treatment, a person was present and delivered attention only when the client appropriately communicated. SIB resulted in the removal of the antecedent findings of this investigation are discussed in terms of the deferential effects of stimuli on interpretation of functional analysis results and the subsequent development of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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