ABA Cooper Book (Glossary) (Edit: Minimum definition reference)

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Applied Behavior Analysis Textbook. By Cooper, Howard, & Heron. (2nd ed)

A-B design

2-phase design: 1. Pre-treatment baseline (A); 2. treatment condition (B).

A-B-A design

3-phase design: Pre-treatment baseline (A); 2. treatment condition (B); 3. return to baseline conditions (A). Each phase should reach "steadystate" responding before the introduction of the next phase.

A-B-A-B design

4-phase design: Pre-treatment baseline (A); 2. treatment condition (B); 3. return to baseline (A). and (4) a second intervention phase (B). Each phase should reach "steadystate" responding before the introduction of the next phase. (also called reversal design, withdrawal design)

abative effect

A decrease in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by the stimulus that is increased in reinforcing effectiveness by the same motivating operation.

ABC recording

A form of direct, continuous observation in which the observer records a descriptive, temporally sequenced account of all behavior(s) of interest and the antecedent conditions and consequences for those behaviors as those events occur in the client's natural environment (also called anecdotal observation).

abolishing operation (AO)

A motivating operation that decreases the reinforcing effectiveness of a stimulus, object, or event.

accuracy

The extent to which observed values, the data produced by measuring an event, match the true state, or true values, of the event as it exists in nature.

adjunctive behavior

Behavior that occurs as a collateral effect of a schedule of periodic reinforcement for other behavior; time-filling or interim activities (e.g., doodling, idle talking, smoking, drinking) that are induced by schedules of reinforcement during times when reinforcement is unlikely to be delivered. (also called schedule-induced behavior.)

affirmation of the consequent

A three-step form of reasoning that begins with a true antecedent-consequent (if-A-then-B) statement and proceeds as follows: (1) If A is true,then B is true; (2) B is found to be true; (3) therefore, A is true. Although other factors could be responsible for the truthfulness of A, a sound experiment affirms several if-A-then-B possibilities, each one reducing the likelihood of factors other than the independent variable being responsible for the observed changes in behavior.

alternating treatments design

An experimental design in which two or more conditions (one of which may be a nontreatment control condition) are presented in rapidly alternating succession (e.g., on alternating sessions or days) independent of the level of responding; differences in responding between or among conditions are attributed to the effects of the conditions (also called concurrent schedule design, multielement design, multiple schedule design).

alternative schedule

Provides reinforcement whenever the requirement of either a ratio schedule or an interval schedule—the basic schedules that makeup this schedule—is met, regardless of which of the component schedule's requirements is met first.

anecdotal observation

A form of direct, continuous observation in which the observer records a descriptive, temporally sequenced account of all behavior(s) of interest and the antecedent conditions and consequences for those behaviors as those events occur in the client's natural environment (also called ABC recording).

antecedent

An environmental condition or stimulus change existing or occurring prior to a behavior of interest.

antecedent intervention

A behavior change strategy that manipulates contingency-independent antecedent stimuli (motivating operations).

antecedent control

A behavior change intervention that manipulates contingency-dependent consequence events to affect stimulus control.

antecedent stimulus class

A set of stimuli that share a common relationship. All stimuli evoke the same operant behavior, or elicit the same respondent behavior.

applied behavior analysis (ABA)

The science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for the improvement in behavior.

arbitrary stimulus class

Antecedent stimuli that evoke the same response but do not resemble each other in physical form or share a relational aspect such as bigger or under (e.g., peanuts, cheese, coconut milk, and chicken breasts, if they evoke the response "sources of protein").

artifact

An outcome or result that appears to exist because of the way it is measured but in fact does not correspond to what actually occurred.

ascending baseline

A data path that shows an increasing trend in the response measure over time.

audience

Anyone who functions as a discriminative stimulus evoking verbal behavior. Differences between them may control different verbal behavior about the same topic because of a differential reinforcement history. Teens may describe the same event in different ways when talking to peers versus parents.

autoclitic

A secondary verbal operant in which some aspect of a speaker's own verbal behavior functions as an SD or an MO for additional speaker verbal behavior. This relation can be thought of as verbal behavior about verbal behavior.

automatic punishment

Punishment that occurs independent of the social mediation by others (i.e., a response product serves as a punisher independent of the social environment).

automatic reinforcement

Reinforcement that occurs independent of the social mediation of others (e.g., scratching an insect bite relieves the itch).

automaticity of reinforcement

Refers to the fact that behavior is modified by its consequences irrespective of the person's awareness; a person does not have to recognize or verbalize the relation between her behavior and a reinforcing consequence, or even know that a consequence has occurred, for reinforcement to "work."

aversive stimulus

In general, an unpleasant or noxious stimulus; more technically, a stimulus change or condition that functions (a) to evoke a behavior that has terminated it in the past; (b) as a punisher when presented following behavior, and/or (c) as a reinforcer when withdrawn following behavior.

avoidance contingency

A contingency in which a response prevents or postpones the presentation of a stimulus.

B-A-B design

A three-phase experimental design that begins with the treatment condition. After steady state responding has been obtained during the initial treatment phase (B), the treatment variable is withdrawn (A) to see whether responding changes in the absence of the independent variable. The treatment variable is then reintroduced (B) in an attempt to recapture the level of responding obtained during the first treatment phase.

backup reinforcers

Tangible objects, activities, or privileges that serve as reinforcers and that can be purchased with tokens.

backward chaining

A teaching procedure in which a trainer completes all but the last behavior in a chain, which is performed by the learner, who then receives reinforcement for completing the chain. When the learner shows competence in performing the final step in the chain, the trainer performs all but the last two behaviors in the chain, the learner emits the final two steps to complete the chain, and reinforcement is delivered. This sequence is continued until the learner completes the entire chain independently.

backward chaining with leaps ahead

A chaining procedure in which some steps in the task analysis are skipped; used to increase the efficiency of teaching long behavior chains when there is evidence that the skipped steps are in the learner's repertoire.

bar graph

A simple and versatile graphic format for summarizing behavioral data; shares most of the line graph's features except that it does not have distinct data points representing successive response measures through time. (Also called a histogram.)

baseline

A condition of an experiment in which the independent variable is not present; data obtained during this are the basis for determining the effects of the independent variable; a control condition that does not necessarily mean the absence of instruction or treatment, only the absence of a specific independent variable of experimental interest.

baseline logic

A term sometimes used to refer to the experimental reasoning inherent in single-subject experimental designs; entails three elements: prediction, verification, and replication.

behavior

The activity of living organisms; includes everything that people do. A technical definition: "that portion of an organism's interaction with its environment that is characterized by detectable displacement in space through time of some part of the organism and that results in a measurable change in at least one aspect of the environment" (Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993a, p. 23).

behavior-altering effect

An alteration in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by the stimulus that is altered in effectiveness by the same motivating operation. For example, the frequency of behavior that has been reinforced with food is increased or decreased by food deprivation or food ingestion.

behavior chain

A sequence of responses in which each response produces a stimulus change that functions as conditioned reinforcement for that response and as a discriminative stimulus for the next response in the sequence; reinforcement for the last response in a sequence maintains the reinforcing effectiveness of the stimulus changes produced by all previous responses.

behavior chain interruption strategy

An intervention that relies on the participant's skill in performing the critical elements of a chain independently; the chain is interrupted occasionally so that another behavior can be emitted.

behavior chain with a limited hold

A contingency that specifies a time interval by which a behavior chain must be completed for reinforcement to be delivered.

behavior change tactic

A technologically consistent method for changing behavior derived from one or more principles of behavior (e.g., differential reinforcement of other behavior, response cost); possesses sufficient generality across subjects, settings, and/or behaviors to warrant its codification and dissemination.

behavior checklist

A checklist that provides descriptions of specific skills (usually in hierarchical order) and the conditions under which each skill should be observed. Some checklists are designed to assess one particular behavior or skill area. Others address multiple behaviors or skill areas. Most use a Likert scale to rate responses.

behavior trap

An interrelated community of contingencies of reinforcement that can be especially powerful, producing substantial and long-lasting behavior changes. When effective, they share four essential features: (a) They are "baited" with virtually irresistible reinforcers that "lure" the student to the trap; (b) only a low effort response already in the student's repertoire is necessary to enter it; (c) once inside, interrelated contingencies of reinforcement motivate the student to acquire, extend, and maintain targeted academic and/or social skills; and (d) they can remain effective for a long time because students shows few, if any, satiation effects.

behavioral assessment

Involves a full range of inquiry methods (observation, interview, testing, and the systematic manipulation of antecedent or consequence variables) to identify probable antecedent and consequent controlling variables. Designed to discover resources, assets, significant others, competing contingencies, maintenance and generality factors, and possible reinforcer and/or punishers that surround the potential target behavior.

behavioral contract

A mutually agreed upon document between parties (e.g., parent and child) that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of specified behavior(s) and access to specified reinforcer(s). (also called contingency contract)

behavioral contrast

The phenomenon in which a change in one component of a multiple schedule that increases or decreases the rate of responding on that component is accompanied by a change in the response rate in the opposite direction on the other, unaltered component of the schedule.

behavioral cusp

A behavior that has sudden and dramatic consequences that extend well beyond the idiosyncratic change itself because it exposes the person to new environments, reinforcers, contingencies, responses, and stimulus controls.

behavioral momentum

A metaphor to describe a rate of responding and its resistance to change following an alteration in reinforcement conditions. This metaphor has also been used to describe the effects produced by the high-probability (high-p) request sequence.

behaviorism

The philosophy of a science of behavior; there are various forms of this philosophy.

believability

The extent to which the researcher convinces herself and others that the data are trustworthy and deserve interpretation. Measures of interobserver agreement (IOA) are the most often used index of this in applied behavior analysis.

bonus response cost

A procedure for implementing response cost in which the person is provided a reservoir of reinforcers that are removed in predetermined amounts contingent on the occurrence of the target behavior.

calibration

Any procedure used to evaluate the accuracy of a measurement system and, when sources of error are found, to use that information to correct or improve the measurement system.

celeration

The change in rate of responding over time; based on count per unit of time (rate); expressed as a factor by which responding is accelerating or decelerating (multiplying or dividing); displayed with a trend line on a Standard Celeration Chart. A generic term without specific reference to accelerating or decelerating rates of response.

celeration time period

A unit of time (e.g., per week, per month) in which celeration is plotted on a Standard Celeration Chart.

celeration trend line

Measured as a factor by which rate multiplies or divides across the celeration time periods (e.g., rate per week, rate per month, rate per year, and rate per decade).

chained schedule

A schedule of reinforcement in which the response requirements of two or more basic schedules must be met in a specific sequence before reinforcement is delivered; a discriminative stimulus is correlated with each component of the schedule.

chaining

Various procedures for teaching behavior chains.

changing criterion design

An experimental design in which an initial baseline phase is followed by a series of treatment phases consisting of successive and gradually changing criteria for reinforcement or punishment. Experimental control is evidenced by the extent the level of responding changes to conform to each new criterion.

clicker training

A term popularized by Pryor (1999) for shaping behavior using conditioned reinforcement in the form of an auditory stimulus. A handheld device produces a click sound when pressed. The trainer pairs other forms of reinforcement (e.g., edible treats) with the click sound so that the sound becomes a conditioned reinforcer.

component analysis

Any experiment designed to identify the active elements of a treatment condition, the relative contributions of different variables in a treatment package, and/or the necessary and sufficient components of an intervention. It may take many forms, but the basic strategy is to compare levels of responding across successive phases in which the intervention is implemented with one or more components left out.

compound schedule

A schedule of reinforcement consisting of two or more elements of continuous reinforcement (CRF), the four intermittent schedules of reinforcement (FR, VR, FI, VI), differential reinforcement of various rates of responding (DRH, DRL), and extinction. The elements from these basic schedules can occur successively or simultaneously and with or without discriminative stimuli; reinforcement may be contingent on meeting the requirements of each element of the schedule independently or in combination with all elements.

concept formation

A complex example of stimulus control that requires stimulus generalization within a class of stimuli and discrimination between classes of stimuli.

concurrent schedule (conc)

A schedule of reinforcement in which two or more contingencies of reinforcement (elements) operate independently and simultaneously for two or more behaviors.

conditional probability

The likelihood that a target behavior will occur in a given circumstance; computed by calculating (a) the proportion of occurrences of behavior that were preceded by a specific antecedent variable and (b) the proportion of occurrences of problem behavior that were followed by a specific consequence. They can range from 0.0 to 1.0; the closer this is to 1.0, the stronger the relationship is between the target behavior and the antecedent/consequence variable.

conditioned motivating operation (CMO)

A motivating operation whose value-altering effect depends on a learning history. For example, because of the relation between locked doors and keys, having to open a locked door makes keys more effective as reinforcers, and evokes behavior that has obtained such keys.

conditioned negative reinforcer

A previously neutral stimulus change that functions as a negative reinforcer because of prior pairing with one or more negative reinforcers.

conditioned punisher

A previously neutral stimulus change that functions as a punisher because of prior pairing with one or more other punishers; sometimes called secondary or learned punisher.

conditioned reflex

A learned stimulus-response functional relation consisting of an antecedent stimulus (e.g., sound of refrigerator door opening) and the response it elicits (e.g., salivation); each person's repertoire is the product of his or her history of interactions with the environment (ontogeny).

conditioned reinforcer

A stimulus change that functions as a reinforcer because of prior pairing with one or more other reinforcers; sometimes called secondary or learned reinforcer.

conditioned stimulus (CS)

The stimulus component of a conditioned reflex; a formerly neutral stimulus change that elicits respondent behavior only after it has been paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US) or another CS.

confidentiality

Describes a situation of trust insofar as any information regarding a person receiving or having received services may not be discussed with or otherwise made available to another person or group, unless that person has provided explicit authorization for release of such information.

conflict of interest

A situation in which a person in a position of responsibility or trust has competing professional or personal interests that make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties impartially.

confounding variable

An uncontrolled factor known or suspected to exert influence on the dependent variable.

consequence

A stimulus change that follows a behavior of interest. Some, especially those that are immediate and relevant to current motivational states, have significant influence on future behavior; others have little effect.

contingency

Refers to dependent and/or temporal relations between operant behavior and its controlling variables.

contingency contract

A mutually agreed upon document between parties (e.g., parent and child) that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of specified behavior(s) and access to specified reinforcer(s). (also known as a behavioral contract.)

contingency reversal

Exchanging the reinforcement contingencies for two topographically different responses. For example, if Behavior A results in reinforcement on an FR 1 schedule of reinforcement and Behavior B results in reinforcement being withheld (extinction), this consists of changing the contingencies such that Behavior A now results in extinction and Behavior B results in reinforcement on an FR 1 schedule.

contingent

Describes reinforcement (or punishment) that is delivered only after the target behavior has occurred.

contingent observation

A procedure for implementing timeout in which the person is repositioned within an existing setting such that observation of ongoing activities remains, but access to reinforcement is lost.

continuous measurement

Measurement conducted in a manner such that all instances of the response class(es) of interest are detected during the observation period.

continuous reinforcement (CRF)

A schedule of reinforcement that provides reinforcement for each occurrence of the target behavior.

contrived contingency

Any contingency of reinforcement (or punishment) designed and implemented by a behavior analyst or practitioner to achieve the acquisition, maintenance, and/or generalization of a targeted behavior change.

contrived mediating stimulus

Any stimulus made functional for the target behavior in the instructional setting that later prompts or aids the learner in performing the target behavior in a generalization setting.

copying a text

An elementary verbal operant that is evoked by a nonvocal verbal discriminative stimulus that has point-to-point correspondence and formal similarity with the controlling response.

count

A simple tally of the number of occurrences of a behavior. The observation period, or counting time, should always be noted when reporting the measures.

counting time

The period of time in which the number of responses emitted was recorded.

cumulative record

A type of graph on which the aggregate number of responses emitted is represented on the vertical axis; the steeper the slope of the data path, the greater the response rate.

cumulative recorder

A device that automatically draws cumulative records (graphs) that show the rate of response in real time; each time a response is emitted, a pen moves upward across paper that continuously moves at a constant speed.

data

The results of measurement, usually in quantifiable form; in applied behavior analysis, it refers to measures of some quantifiable dimension of a behavior.

data path

The level and trend of behavior between successive data points; created by drawing a straight line from the center of each data point in a given data set to the center of the next data point in the same set.

delayed multiple baseline design

A variation of the multiple baseline design in which an initial baseline, and perhaps intervention, are begun for one behavior (or setting, or subject), and subsequent baselines for additional behaviors are begun in a staggered fashion.

dependent group contingency

A contingency in which reinforcement for all members of a group is dependent on the behavior of one member of the group or the behavior of a select group of members within the larger group.

dependent variable

The variable in an experiment measured to determine if it changes as a result of manipulations of the independent variable; in applied behavior analysis, it represents some measure of a socially significant behavior.

deprivation

The state of an organism with respect to how much time has elapsed since it has consumed or contacted a particular type of reinforcer; also refers to a procedure for increasing the effectiveness of a reinforcer (e.g., withholding a person's access to a reinforcer for a specified
period of time prior to a session).

descending baseline

A data path that shows a decreasing trend in the response measure over time.

descriptive functional behavior assessment

Direct observation of problem behavior and the antecedent & consequent events under naturally occurring conditions.

determinism

The assumption that the universe is a lawful and orderly place in which phenomena occur in relation to other events and not in a willy-nilly, accidental fashion.

differential reinforcement

Reinforcing only those responses within a response class that meet a specific criterion along some dimension(s) (i.e., frequency, topography, duration, latency, or magnitude) and placing all other responses in the class on extinction.

differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA)

A procedure for decreasing problem behavior in which reinforcement is delivered for a behavior that serves as a desirable alternative to the behavior targeted for reduction
and withheld following instances of the problem behavior (e.g., reinforcing completion of academic worksheet items when the behavior targeted for reduction is talk-outs).

differential reinforcement of diminishing rates (DRD)

A schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcement is provided at the end of a predetermined interval contingent on the number of responses emitted during the interval being fewer than a gradually decreasing criterion based on the individual's performance in previous intervals (e.g., fewer than five responses per 5 minutes, fewer than four responses per 5 minutes, fewer than three responses per 5 minutes).

differential reinforcement of high rates (DRH)

A schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcement is provided at the end of a predetermined interval contingent on the number of responses emitted during the interval being greater than a gradually increasing criterion based on the individual's performance in previous intervals (e.g., more than three responses per 5 minutes, more than five responses per 5 minutes, more than eight responses per 5 minutes).

differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI)

A procedure for decreasing problem behavior in which reinforcement is delivered for a behavior that is topographically incompatible with the behavior targeted for reduction and withheld following instances of the problem behavior (e.g., sitting in seat is incompatible with walking around the room).

differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL)

A schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcement (a) follows each occurrence of the target behavior that is separated from the previous response by a minimum interresponse time (IRT), or (b) is contingent on the number of responses within a period of time not exceeding a predetermined criterion. Practitioners use the schedules to decrease the rate of behaviors that occur too frequently but should be maintained in the learner's repertoire.

differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO)

A procedure for decreasing problem behavior in which reinforcement is contingent on the absence of the problem behavior during or at specific times. (also known as omission training).

direct measurement

Occurs when the behavior that is measured is the same as the behavior that is the focus of the investigation.

direct replication

An experiment in which the researcher attempts to duplicate exactly the conditions of an earlier experiment.

discontinuous measurement

Measurement conducted in a manner such that some instances of the response class(es) of interest may not be detected.

discrete trial

Any operant whose response rate is controlled by a given opportunity to emit the response. Each response occurs when an opportunity to respond exists. Restricted operant, and controlled operant are synonymous technical terms.

discriminated avoidance

A contingency in which responding in the presence of a signal prevents the onset of a stimulus from which escape is a reinforcer.

discriminated operant

An operant that occurs more frequently under some antecedent conditions than under others.

discriminative stimulus (SD)

A stimulus in the presence of which responses of some type have been reinforced and in the absence of which the same type of responses have occurred and not been reinforced; this history of differential reinforcement is the reason it increases the momentary frequency of behavior.

double-blind control

A procedure that prevents the subject and the observer(s) from detecting the presence or absence of the treatment variable; used to eliminate confounding of results by subject expectations, parent and teacher expectations, differential treatment by others, and observer bias.

DRI/DRA reversal technique

An experimental technique that demonstrates the effects of reinforcement; it uses differential reinforcement of an incompatible or alternative behavior (DRI/DRA) as a control condition instead of a no-reinforcement (baseline) condition. During the DRI/ DRA condition, the stimulus change used as reinforcement in the reinforcement condition is presented contingent on occurrences of a specified behavior that is either incompatible with the target behavior or an alternative to the target behavior. A higher level of responding during the reinforcement condition than during the DRI/DRA condition demonstrates that the changes in behavior are the result of contingent reinforcement, not simply the presentation of or contact with the stimulus event.

DRO reversal technique

An experimental technique for demonstrating the effects of reinforcement by using differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) as a control condition instead of a no-reinforcement (baseline) condition. During the DRO condition, the stimulus change used as reinforcement in the reinforcement condition is presented contingent on the absence of the target behavior for a specified time period. A higher level of responding during the reinforcement condition than during the DRO condition demonstrates that the changes in behavior are the result of contingent reinforcement, not simply the presentation of or contact with the stimulus event.

duration

A measure of the total extent of time in which a behavior occurs.

echoic

An elementary verbal operant involving a response that is evoked by a verbal discriminative stimulus that has point-to-point correspondence and formal similarity with the response.

ecological assessment

An assessment protocol that acknowledges complex interrelationships between environment and behavior. A method for obtaining data across multiple settings and persons.

empiricism

The objective observation of the phenomena of interest; objective observations are "independent of the individual prejudices, tastes, and private opinions of the scientist. Results of these methods are objective in that they are open to anyone's observation and do not depend on the subjective belief of the individual scientist.

environment

The conglomerate of real circumstances in which the organism or referenced part of the organism exists; behavior cannot occur in the absence of this.

escape contingency

A contingency in which a response terminates an ongoing stimulus.

escape extinction

Behaviors maintained with negative reinforcement are placed on this when those behaviors are not followed by termination of the aversive

establishing operation (EO)

A motivating operation that increases the effectiveness of some stimulus, object, or event as a reinforcer. For example, food deprivation makes food an effective reinforcer.

ethical codes of behavior

Statements that provide guidelines for members of professional associations when deciding a course of action or conducting professional duties; standards by which graduated sanctions (e.g., reprimand, censure, expulsion) can be imposed for deviating from the code.

ethics

Behaviors, practices, and decisions that address such basic and fundamental questions as: What is the right thing to do? What's worth doing? What does it mean to be a good behavior analytic practitioner?

event recording

Measurement procedure for obtaining a tally or count of the number of times a behavior occurs.

evocative effect

An increase in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by the stimulus that is increased in reinforcing effectiveness by the same motivating operation. For example, food deprivation increases the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by food.

exact count-per-interval IOA

The percentage of total intervals in which two observers recorded the same count; the most stringent description of IOA for most data sets obtained by event recording.

exclusion time-out

A procedure for implementing time-out in which, contingent on the occurrence of a target behavior, the person is removed physically from the current environment for a specified period.

experiment

A carefully controlled comparison of some measure of the phenomenon of interest (the dependent variable) under two or more different conditions in which only one factor at a time (the independent variable) differs from one condition to another.

experimental analysis of behavior (EAB)

A natural science approach to the study of behavior as a subject matter in its own right founded by B. F. Skinner; methodological features include rate of response as a basic dependent variable, repeated or continuous measurement of clearly defined response classes, within-subject experimental comparisons instead of group design, visual analysis of graphed data instead of statistical inference, and an emphasis on describing functional relations between behavior and controlling variables in the environment over formal theory testing.

experimental control

Two meanings: (a) the outcome of an experiment that demonstrates convincingly a functional relation, meaning that this is achieved when a predictable change in behavior (the dependent variable) can be reliably produced by manipulating a specific aspect of the environment (the independent variable); and (b) the extent to which a researcher maintains precise control of the independent variable by presenting it,withdrawing it, and/or varying its value, and also by eliminating or holding constant all confounding and extraneous variables.

experimental design

The particular type and sequence of conditions in a study so that meaningful comparisons of the effects of the presence and absence (or different values) of the independent variable can be made.

experimental question

A statement of what the researcher seeks to learn by conducting the experiment; may be presented in question form and is most often found in a published account as a statement of the experiment's purpose. All aspects of an experiment's design should follow from this. (also called the research question).

explanatory fiction

A fictitious or hypothetical variable that often takes the form of another name for the observed phenomenon it claims to explain and contributes nothing to a functional account or understanding of the phenomenon, such as "intelligence" or "cognitive awareness" as explanations for why an organism pushes the lever when the light is on and food is available but does not push the lever when the light is off and no food is available.

external validity

The degree to which a study's findings have generality to other subjects, settings, and/or behaviors.

extinction

The discontinuing of reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior (i.e., responses no longer produce reinforcement); the primary effect is a decrease in the frequency of the behavior until it reaches a pre-reinforced level or ultimately ceases to occur.

extinction burst

An increase in the frequency of responding when an extinction procedure is initially implemented.

extraneous variable

Any aspect of the experimental setting (e.g., lighting, temperature) that must be held constant to prevent unplanned environmental variation.

fading

A procedure for transferring stimulus control in which features of an antecedent stimulus (e.g., shape, size, position, color) controlling a behavior are gradually changed to a new stimulus while maintaining the current behavior; stimulus features can be enhanced or reduced.

feature stimulus class

Stimuli that share common physical forms or structures (e.g., made from wood, four legs, round, blue) or common relative relationships (e.g., bigger than, hotter than, higher than, next to).

fixed interval (FI)

A schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcement is delivered for the first response emitted following the passage of a set duration of time since the last response was reinforced.

fixed-interval DRO (FI-DRO)

A DRO procedure in which reinforcement is available at the end of intervals of set duration and delivered contingent on the absence of the problem behavior during each interval.

fixed-momentary DRO (FM-DRO)

A DRO procedure in which reinforcement is available at specific moments of time, which are separated by a set amount of time, and delivered contingent on the problem not occurring at those moments.

fixed ratio (FR)

A schedule of reinforcement requiring a set number of responses for reinforcement.

fixed-time schedule (FT)

A schedule for the delivery of non contingent stimuli in which a time interval remains the same from one delivery to the next.

formal similarity

A situation that occurs when the controlling antecedent stimulus and the response or response product (a) share the same sense mode (e.g., both stimulus and response are visual, auditory, or tactile) and (b) physically resemble each other. The verbal relations with this are echoic, coping a text, and imitation as it relates to sign language.

forward chaining

A method for teaching behavior chains that begins with the learner being prompted and taught to perform the first behavior in the task analysis; the trainer completes the remaining steps in the chain. When the learner shows competence in performing the first step in the chain, he is then taught to perform the first two behaviors in the chain, with the training completing the chain. This process is continued until the learner completes the entire chain independently.

free operant

Any operant behavior that results in minimal displacement of the participant in time and space. It can be emitted at nearly any time; it is discrete, it requires minimal time for completion, and it can produce a wide range of response rates.

free-operant avoidance

A contingency in which responses at any time during an interval prior to the scheduled onset of an aversive stimulus delays the presentation of the aversive stimulus.

frequency

A ratio of count per observation time; often expressed as count per standard unit of time (e.g., per minute, per hour, per day) and calculated by dividing the number of responses recorded by the number of standard units of time in which observations were conducted; used interchangeably with rate.

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