UTILITY OF EXTINCTION-INDUCED RESPONSE VARIABILITY FOR THE SELECTION OF MANDS

Authors


Department of Human Resource Development, 407 Bailey Hall, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine 04038 (e-mail: mekelley@usm.maine.edu)

Abstract

Functional communication training (FCT; Carr & Durand, 1985) is a commonly used differential reinforcement procedure for replacing problem behavior with socially acceptable alternative responses. Most studies in the FCT literature consist of demonstrations of the maintenance of responding when various treatment components (e.g., extinction, punishment) are present and absent (e.g., Fisher et al., 1993; Wacker et al., 1990). Relatively little research on FCT has (a) evaluated the conditions under which alternative responses are acquired or (b) described procedures with technological precision. Thus, additional research on a cogent technology for response acquisition appears to be warranted. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of exposing problem behavior to extinction for inducing response variability as a tool for selecting an alternative response during FCT. Once participants engaged in appropriate alternative responses, the reinforcer identified in the functional analysis as maintaining problem behavior was delivered contingent on the alternative behavior. Results showed that exposing problem behavior to extinction was a useful method for producing alternative behaviors during FCT.

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