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THE RELATIVE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVATING OPERATIONS FOR POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT ON PROBLEM BEHAVIOR DURING DEMANDS

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Abstract

Research has demonstrated the feasibility of using positive reinforcement to treat problem behavior maintained by negative reinforcement. This line of research was extended in the current study. A functional analysis (FA) was conducted that suggested problem behavior was maintained by positive and negative reinforcement. Following the FA, a demand analysis was conducted with three demand conditions: one that replicated the demand condition from the FA, one that included presession exposure to a preferred item, and another that included presession exposure to preferred items and access to those items during breaks from demands. Although problem behavior occurred in all three demand conditions, within session analyses showed that problem behavior ceased during breaks from demands only when they included access to preferred items. This finding suggests that the motivating operation responsible for evoking problem behavior did not decrease when only a break was provided. Subsequent functional communication training and treatment analysis showed that treatments based on positive reinforcement were effective at reducing problem behavior, but those based on a negative reinforcement hypothesis were not. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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