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Decreasing Behavior with Nonpunishment Procedures. Chapters 21, 22, 23. What Does Nonpunishment Mean?. Punishment Occurs when a stimulus change immediately follows a response and Decreases the future frequency of that type of behavior in similar conditions

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What does nonpunishment mean
What Does Nonpunishment Mean?

  • Punishment

    • Occurs when a stimulus change immediately follows a response and

    • Decreases the future frequency of that type of behavior in similar conditions

  • Nonpunishment procedures that decrease behavior

    • Extinction

    • Differential reinforcement arrangements

    • Antecedent arrangements

Differential reinforcement arrangements used to decrease behavior
Differential Reinforcement Arrangements Used to Decrease Behavior

  • Differential Reinforcement: reinforcing one response class and withholding reinforcement for another response class

  • As a behavior reduction procedure, DR is…

    • Providing reinforcement contingent upon the occurrence of behavior other than the problem behavior

      • Or contingent upon a reduced rate of the problem behavior

    • Withholding reinforcement as much as possible for the problem behavior

Differential reinforcement of
Differential Reinforcement of… Behavior

  • Incompatible Behavior (DRI)

  • Alternative Behavior (DRA)

  • Other Behavior (DRO)

  • Low Rates of Responding (DRL)

  • High Rates of Responding (DRH)

Decreasing behavior with nonpunishment procedures
DRA Behavior

  • Reinforcement of an appropriate alternative to the problem behavior

  • Withholding of reinforcement following instances of problem behavior (extinction)

  • Sometimes the new behavior is a communication response that results in the same reinforcer as the target behavior: Functional Communication Training (FCT)

  • Sometimes the new behavior and the problem behavior can’t be done at the same time – this is called DRI – what’s the benefit of this?

Decreasing behavior with nonpunishment procedures

Durand (1999) Behavior


% of Intervals

Implementing dra and dri
Implementing DRA and DRI Behavior

  • Select incompatible and alternative behaviors that are

    • Require equal or less effort than the problem behavior

    • If possible, already in the learner’s repertoire

    • Likely to be reinforced in the learner’s natural environment

  • Select reinforcers that are

    • Powerful – try to use same reinforcer that maintains problem behavior if you can!

    • Can be delivered consistently and immediately (than switch from CRF to Intermittent schedule)

  • Withhold reinforcement for the problem behavior (Extinction)

  • Combine with other procedures if the behavior is destructive or dangerous

Should the replacement behavior be saying i m angry
Should the Replacement Behavior Be Saying “I’m angry”? Behavior

  • It may be true that a student is feeling angry, sad, or frustrated

  • Will teaching the student to say, “I’m angry” be an appropriate replacement behavior?

    • What reinforcer will be delivered contingent upon “I’m angry”?

    • How will another person know what to do in response to that statement?

  • Learning to describe emotions is an important skill

    • But it may be beneficial to teach a student to specify the reinforcer or engage in a functional skill instead

Decreasing behavior with nonpunishment procedures
DRO Behavior

  • Reinforcer is delivered contingent on the absence of a

    problem behavior – what’s the problem with the term DRO?

  • Arranging a DRO schedule

    • Identify the target behavior’s reinforcer

    • Identify the mean interresponse time (IRT) during baseline

      • Total of all baseline sessions/total number of responses

    • Set the initial DRO value slightly less than the mean baseline IRT

    • Deliver the reinforcer only at the end of intervals in which no target behaviors have occurred (Interval DRO)

      • or at a specific moment when no target behaviors are occurring (Momentary DRO)

        • Hint: think of momentary time sampling and partial interval recording

    • If the target behavior occurs, reset the interval

Types of dro
Types of DRO Behavior

Dro video
DRO Video Behavior

Guidelines for using dro
Guidelines for Using DRO Behavior

  • Interval DRO may be more effective than Momentary DRO

    • But VM-DRO may be more practical

  • Increase the DRO interval gradually as behavior improves (recall LeBlanc, Hagopian, Maglieri, & Poling, 2002)

  • Watch for

    • Other problem behaviors occurring during the interval

    • Problem behavior occurring at the time of reinforcement

  • Combine DRO with other procedures

Antecedent interventions used to decrease behavior
Antecedent Interventions Used to Decrease Behavior Behavior

  • Antecedent Intervention: Behavior change strategy in which motivating operations are manipulated

  • 3 established antecedent interventions:

    • Noncontingent reinforcement (NCR)

    • High-probability (Hi-p) request sequence

    • Functional communication training (FCT)

Decreasing behavior with nonpunishment procedures
NCR Behavior

  • Reinforcer that maintains a problem behavior is delivered on a fixed-time (FT) or variable-time (VT) schedule (also continuous)

    • Independent of the learner’s behavior

  • How is noncontingent reinforcement a misnomer?

Vollmer et al. (1998)

How does ncr manipulate motivating operations
How Does NCR manipulate Motivating Operations? Behavior

  • Abolishing Operation:Motivating operation that decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of a consequence

    • e.g., food consumption decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of food

  • In the case of NCR…

    • Noncontingent access to attention decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of attention (social SR+)

    • Noncontingent access to escape decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of escape (social SR-)

    • Noncontingent access to sensory stimulation decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of sensory stimulation (automatic SR+)

Guidelines for using ncr
Guidelines for Using NCR Behavior

  • First conduct Functional Assessment

  • Use with extinction or DRO

  • Initial time interval should be dense and then thinned

    • Total duration of all baseline sessions/total number of occurrences of the problem behavior

    • Set the initial interval slightly below this

Advantages and disadvantages of ncr

Advantages Behavior

Easy to use

Creates positive learning environment

If used with extinction, can reduce extinction burst

Chance pairing of productive behavior and NCR could strengthen the productive behavior


Free access to NCR stimuli may reducte motivation to engage in adaptive behavior

Chance pairing of non-productive behavior and NCR could strengthen the non-productive behavior

Advantages and Disadvantages of NCR

High p request sequence
High- BehaviorP Request Sequence

  • Teacher presents 2-5 easy-to-follow requests for which the learner has a history of compliance (hi-p)

  • When the learner complies, the teacher immediately gives the target request for which the learner has a history of noncompliance (low-p)

  • Sometimes called behavioral momentum

How does the high p request sequence manipulate mos
How Does the High- BehaviorP Request Sequence Manipulate MOs?

  • Reinforcement during the high-p requests reduces the value of escape from the low-p request

    • Makes the situation less aversive

Selecting the hi p requests
Selecting the Hi-p Requests Behavior

  • Selecting the hi-p requests

    • Create a list of requests

    • Present each one in 5 separate sessions

    • Hi-p requests are those that the student complies with 100% of the time

Functional communication training
Functional Communication Training Behavior

  • Conduct a functional assessment

  • Use the reinforcer maintaining problem behavior to teach a communication response

    • Can be vocalization, sign, written word, picture, voice output system, gesture

    • How do you do this???

  • Best if combined with extinction

  • Rather than changingthe MO, FCT develops an alternative behavior that is sensitive to the MO that evokes the target problem behavior

Advantages disadvantages of fct

Advantages Behavior

Generalization & Maintenance of the communicative response

High social validity

When using FRI, may be effective without using extinction


Usually includes extinction and side effects of extinction

Extinction is very difficult to use consistently

Inappropriate high rates of new response

These may occur at impossible times

Advantages & Disadvantages of FCT

Extinction Behavior

  • Procedure: Discontinuation of the response-reinforcer relationship

  • Process: decline in response rate caused by withholding reinforcement

  • Extinction is procedurally different depending on what the maintaining reinforcer of the behavior is…how?

    • What are possible categories of maintaining reinforcers?

    • How do you know what reinforcer maintains a behavior?

Iwata pace cowdery and miltenberger 1994
Iwata, Pace, Cowdery, and Miltenberger (1994) Behavior

EXT (Attention)

EXT (Escape)

EXT (Sensory)

Social SR+





Social SR- (Escape)




Automatic SR+ (Sensory)




What Makes Extinction Work: An Analysis of Procedural Form and Function

Misuse of the term extinction
Misuse of the term BehaviorExtinction

  • Extinction is NOT just any decrease in behavior

  • Extinction is NOT the same as forgetting

    • What’s forgetting?

  • Extinction is NOT the same as response blocking

  • Extinction is not necessarily ignoring

Characteristics of extinction
Characteristics of Extinction Behavior

  • Extinction alone has not been well-studied in humans in applied settings!

  • In ABA, we always combine extinction with other procedures (“treatment package”)

  • Although these characteristics have been clearly documented in basic research, apply them cautiously to your learners

    • Initial increase in response frequency and magnitude

      • Extinction burst: immediate increase in the frequency of a response after the discontinuation of reinforcement

    • Gradual decrease in frequency and magnitude

    • “Emotional responses” (e.g., aggression, crying)

    • Extinction-induced variability

    • Spontaneous recovery

Resistance to extinction
Resistance to Extinction Behavior

  • Initial continued responding during an extinction procedure

  • Variables Affecting RTE:

    • Schedule of reinforcement

      • Intermittent schedules produce…

      • Variable schedules produce…

      • Thinner schedules of SR produce…

    • Motivating Operations

      • RTE is greater when carried out with a strong EO in effect

    • Number, magnitude, and quality of reinforcement

      • Effects are unclear!

    • Response effort

      • A low effort response is more resistant to extinction

    • Number of previous extinction trials

      • The 2nd extinction is…

Guidelines for effective use of extinction
Guidelines for Effective Use of Extinction Behavior

  • Withhold all reinforcers maintaining the problem behavior

  • Withhold reinforcement consistently

  • Combine extinction with other behaviors

  • Use instructions

  • Plan for extinction-produced aggression

  • Increase the number of extinction trials

  • Include significant others in extinction

  • Guard against unintentional extinction

  • Maintain extinction-decreased behavior