A COMPARISON OF PROCEDURES FOR PROGRAMMING NONCONTINGENT REINFORCEMENT SCHEDULES

Authors


Neurobehavioral Unit, Kennedy Krieger Institute, 707 N. Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.

Abstract

We compared two methods for programming and thinning noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) schedules during the treatment of self-injurious behavior (SIB). The participants were 3 individuals who had been diagnosed with mental retardation. Results of functional analyses indicated that all participants' SIB was maintained by positive reinforcement (i.e., access to attention or food). Following baseline, the effects of two NCR schedule-thinning procedures were compared in multielement designs. One schedule (fixed increment) was initially set at fixed-time 10-s reinforcer deliveries and was also thinned according to fixed-time intervals. The other schedule (adjusting IRT) was initially determined by participants' baseline interresponse times (IRTs) for SIB and was thinned based on IRTs observed during subsequent treatment sessions. Results indicated that both schedules were effective in initially reducing SIB and in maintaining response suppression as the schedules were thinned.

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