ATTENTION AS AN ESTABLISHING OPERATION AND AS REINFORCEMENT DURING FUNCTIONAL ANALYSES

Authors


Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Abstract

Results of functional analyses for 36 individuals whose self-injurious behavior (SIB) was maintained by attention indicated that SIB was highest during a condition in which the individual was deprived of attention (establishing operation) except as a consequence (reinforcer). Deprivation in the absence of reinforcement produced marginal increases in SIB in 5 individuals, and a relatively rich schedule of noncontingent attention produced the lowest levels of SIB. These results suggest that clearer functional analysis outcomes are likely to be obtained when test conditions contain both an establishing operation to evoke behavior as well as a reinforcement contingency to maintain it.

Ancillary