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Keywords:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • autism;
  • concurrent schedules;
  • differential reinforcement;
  • extinction;
  • problem behavior

We manipulated relative reinforcement for problem behavior and appropriate behavior using differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) without an extinction component. Seven children with developmental disabilities participated. We manipulated duration (Experiment 1), quality (Experiment 2), delay (Experiment 3), or a combination of each (Experiment 4), such that reinforcement favored appropriate behavior rather than problem behavior even though problem behavior still produced reinforcement. Results of Experiments 1 to 3 showed that behavior was often sensitive to manipulations of duration, quality, and delay in isolation, but the largest and most consistent behavior change was observed when several dimensions of reinforcement were combined to favor appropriate behavior (Experiment 4). Results suggest strategies for reducing problem behavior and increasing appropriate behavior without extinction.