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Keywords:

  • functional analysis;
  • behavioral assessment;
  • establishing operation;
  • reinforcement duration

In the functional analysis described by Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994), reinforcer duration varied across conditions (e.g., brief attention vs. 30 s of escape); this may result in unequal exposure to the establishing operations for aberrant behavior. In this study, we compared the effects of unequal and equal reinforcer duration during a functional analysis. The results showed that reinforcer duration affects the rate of aberrant behavior and may potentially alter functional analysis interpretation.