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The effect of rules on differential reinforcement of other behavior


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David A. Wilder, School of Psychology, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, Florida 32901 (e-mail:


Previous research on the treatment of problem behavior has shown differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) to be an effective behavior-reduction procedure. However, the extent to which presession descriptions of the DRO contingency enhance intervention effects has not been examined. In the current study, we compared a condition in which a presession rule that described the DRO contingency was given to a condition in which no rule was given for 4 participants. The target behavior was toy play, which served as an analogue to problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. Results showed that DRO was more efficient for 1 participant and more effective for 2 participants when a rule was given.

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