The Effects of Varying Quality and Duration of Reinforcement on Mands to Work, Mands for Break, and Problem Behavior

Peterson, Stephanie M.; Frieder, Jessica E.; Smith, Shilo L.; Quigley, Shawn P.; Van Norman, Renee K.
November 2009
Education & Treatment of Children;11/1/2009, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p605
Academic Journal
Research on the effects of concurrent schedules of reinforcement during treatment of problem behavior has shown that response allocation can be biased in favor of adaptive responses by providing increased reinforcement for these responses. However, this research has focused on the effects of only two concurrently available response options. In applied situations, it is likely that more than two concurrently available response options exist. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of varying qualities and durations of reinforcement on problem behavior, mands for breaks, and mands to work. Participants were 5 to 12 years old, had disabilities, and displayed escape-motivated problem behavior. Results showed that all participants' responding was sensitive to changes in quality and duration of reinforcement. That is, participants allocated responding to the response that produced the highest quality and longest duration of reinforcement. These results are consistent with previous literature on choice when two concurrent schedules of reinforcement were in effect. Implications for practice are discussed, as well as future research that could expand the findings.


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