The effects of variable-time versus contingent reinforcement delivery on problem behavior maintained by escape

Joanna E.Lomas Mevers, Wayne W. Fisher, Michael E. Kelley, Laura D. Fredrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Results of previous research indicate that the delivery of positive reinforcement (e.g., food) for an appropriate, alternative target response (e.g., compliance) or delivery of food on a time-based schedule can decrease problem behavior reinforced by escape, even when problem behavior continues to produce negative reinforcement (e.g., Lalli et al.,; Lomas, Fisher, & Kelley,). In this study, we compared the levels of both compliance and problem behavior when food and praise were delivered either contingent on compliance or on a time-based schedule. Results for 3 of the 4 participants showed that contingent delivery of preferred edible items and praise was more effective in both reducing problem behavior and increasing compliance compared to variable-time delivery of these same items. These findings are discussed in the context of motivating operations and competition between positive and negative reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • functional analysis
  • negative reinforcement
  • noncontingent reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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