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Demonstrate a functional relation


Environmental conditions or stimulus changes that occur prior to the behavior of interest

Antecedent stimulus class

Stimuli that share a common relationship

Applied Behavioral Analysis

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 of the behavior.

Automatic reinforcement

Reinforcement that occurs independent of the social mediation of others

Automaticity of reinforcement

Behavior is modified by it's consequences regardless of whether the individual is aware of reinforcement

Aversive stimulus

Stimulus conditions whose termination functions as reinforcement

Avoidance Contingency

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

Backup Reinforcer

Reinforcers that can be purchased with tokens

Backward chaining

A teaching procedure in which all behaviors are initially completed by the trainer except for the final behavior in the chain.


The portion of an organism's interaction with its environment


Philosophy of the science of behavior

Behavior chain

Specific sequence of responses in which each response produces a stimulus change that functions as conditioned reinforcement for that response and an Sd for the next response.

Behavior chain with limited hold

A sequence of behaviors that must be performed correctly and within a specified time to be reinforced.

Behavioral contract

A document that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of a specified behavior and access to a reinforcer.

Behavioral cusp

A behavior that has sudden and dramatic consequences that extend beyond the change becauses it exposes the person to new environments, reinforcers, contingencies, responses and stimulus control


Dependent and/or temporal relations between operant behaviors and its controlling variables

Contingent observation

Person is put in time out within setting so they can see ongoing activities but access to reinforcers is lost

3-term contingency

Basic unit of analysis in the analysis of operant behavior

Conditioned reinforcer

A stimulus change that functions as a reinforcer because of prior pairing with one or more other reinforcers

Conditioned stimulus

Stimulus component of a conditioned reflex

Concept Formulation

Stimulus control that requires both stimulus generalization within a class of stimuli and discrimination between classes of stimuli


Stimulus change that follows a behavior of interest

Continuous measurement

Measurement conducted in a manner in which all instances of the response classes of interest are detected during observation period


Number of occurrences of a behavior

Dependent variable DV

The variable measured to determine if it changes as a result if manipulating the IV


How much time has elapsed since it has consumed or contacted a reinforcer


The universe if a lawful orderly place, phenomena occur in relation to other events and not in an accidental fashion

Discriminated operant

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

Discriminated stimulus

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 not been reinforced.


Differential Reinforcement of Alternate behavior


Differential reinforcement of high rates


Differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior


Differential reinforcement of other behavior


The length of time a behavior occurs


The objective observation of the phenomena of interest

Escape contingency

A response in which a response terminates (escapes from) an ongoing stimulus

Event recording

Count of the number of times a behavior occurs

Exclusion time out

Person is removed physically from the environment for a specified period


A comparision of some measure of the DV under 2 or more different conditions in which one factor at a time (IV) differs from one condition to another.

Explanatory fiction

A ficticious variable that takes another name for the observed phenomena it claims to explain and contributes nothing


The discontinuing of a reinforcement for a previously reinforced behavior

Extinction burst

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

Forward chaining

A teaching procedure that begins with the learning being prompted to perform the first behavior, trainer completes remaining steps.

Functional Relation

Establishing a consistent effect on the DV by manipulating the IV, unlikely to be a result of extraneous variables.

Feature stimulus class

Stimuli that share common physical forms or structures or relative relationships. "made from wood".

Establishing operant

Motivating operant that increases effectiveness of stimulus as a reinforcer

General case analysis

Process for identifying and selecting examples that represent the full range of stimulus variations and response requirements in the generalization settings.


A generic term for a variety of behavioral processes and behavior change outcomes.


When a person's repretoire has been changed so that the short and long-term REINFORCERS are MAXimized and short and long-term PUNISHERS are MINImized


A decrease in responsiveness to repeated presentattion of a stimulus

History of reinforcement

All of a person's LEARNING experiences

Imitation behavior

A behavior controlled by physical movement as a model, has similarity with the model and immediately follows the model.

Independent variable

The variable that is sytematically manipulated to see whether it produces reliable changes in the DV

Indescriminable contingency

A contingency in which the learner cannot discriminate whether the next response will produce reinforcement. (Reinforces some but not all occurances of responses)


2 or more observes report the same observed values after measuring the same events

Level system

Type of token economy systems in which participants move up or down a hierarchy of levels contingent on meeting criteria with respect to the target behaviors.


Assumes that a mental or inner dimension exists that differs from behavior.

methodological behaviorism

A philosophic position that views behavioral events that cannot be publicly observed outside the realm of science.

Momentary time sampling

Behaviors are recorded at precisely specified intervals

Multiple examplar training

Used for setting/situation generalization. Using different stimuli within the same stimulus class to teach a concept.

Negative punishment

A response behavior is followed immediately by the removal of a stimulus (or a decrease in the intensity of the stimulus), that decreases t

Negative reinforcement

A contingency where the occurence of a response produces the removal, termination, reduction, or postponement of a stimulus, which leads to an increase in the future occurence of that response".

Non-exclusion time out

Person remains within setting but does not have access to reinforcers for a specified period

IRT Inter Response Time

Time elapsed between 2 successive responses

Motivating Operant

An environmental variable that (a) alters (increases or decreases) the reinforcing effectiveness of some stimulus, object, or event and (b) alters (increases or decreases) the current frequency of all behavior that have been reinforced by that stimulus, object, or event".

Observer drift

An unintended change in the way an observer uses a measurement system that results in error.


The history of the development of an individual organism during its lifetime.

Operant behavior

Any behavior whose future frequency is determined by its history of consequences.

Operant conditioning

The process by which operant learning occurs; consequences result in an increased or decreased frequency of behavior in the future.


Practice of ruling out simple, logical explanations before considering more complex explanations

Partial Interval Recording

Time sampling method in which observation period is divided into brief time intervals, observer records whether the behavior occurs at any time during the interval

Philosopic Doubt

The continuing questioning of what is regarded as truth.


The history of the natural evolution of a species.


Observer records whether each person in a group is engaged in the target behavior at specific points in time

Positive punishment

A behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that decreases the future frequency of the behavior.

Positive reinforcement

Occurs when a behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that increases the future frequency of the behavior in similar conditions.

Positive reinforcer

A stimulus whose presentation or onset functions as reinforcement.

Premack principle

A principle that states that making the opportunity to engage in a high-probability behavior contingent on the occurrence of a low-frequency behavior will function as reinforcement for the low-frequency behavior.

Programming Common Stimuli

Taking elements of the generalization environment and adding them to the teaching environment.


A stimulus change that decreases the future frequency of behavior that immediately precedes it.


Occurs when stimulus change immediately follows a response and decreases the future frequency of that type of behavior in similar conditions.

Radical Behaviorism

A form of behaviorism that attempts to understand all human behavior including private and public events

Ratio Strain

Abrupt increases in ratio when moving from denser to thinner reinforcement schedules


Effects of an observation and measurement procedure on the behavior being measured if person is aware of observer's presence


A stimulus-response relation consisting of an antecedent stimulus and the respondent behavior it elicits.


Occurs when a stimulus change immediately follows a response and increases the future frequency of that type of behavior in similar conditions.


A stimulus change that increases the future frequency of behavior that immediately precedes it.


Repeating conditions to determine the realibility and increase internal validity, and to determine the generality of findings of previous experiments


Consistency of measurement

Reinforcer assessment

Concurrent schedule, multiple schedule, progressive ratio.


All of the behaviors a person can do.


A single instance or occurrence of a specific class or type of behavior

Response blocking

Therapist physically blocks the behavior

Response class

Behaviors all function the same way. A group of responses of varying topography, all of which produce the same effect on the environment".

Response cost

The contingent loss of reinforcers (i.e. fine) producing a decrease of the frequency of behavior

Response latency

Elapsed time between onset of a stimulus and initiation of a response

Response generalization

A learner has learned one or more responses ans can respond in slightly different ways that are functionally equivalent.

Response maintenance

Generalization across time after the intervention has been discontinued.

Schedule thinning

Gradually increasing the response ratio or time interval


A systematic approach to understanding of natural phenomena


Using differential reinforcement to produce a series of gradually changing response classes; each response class is a successive approximation toward a terminal behavior.

Spontaneous Recovery

Extinction effect; when behavior suddenly begins to occur after frequency has decreased to reinforcement level or stopped entirely


A decrease in the frequency of behavior presumed to be the result of continued contact with or consumption of a reinforcer that has followed the behavior.


An energy change that affects an organism through its receptor cells.

Stimulus class

Respond same way to different stimuli. A group of stimuli that share specified common elements along formal, temporal, and/or functional dimensions".

Stimulus control

When the rate, latency, duration, or amplitude of a behavior is altered by the presence or absence of an antecedent stimulus.

Stimulus delta

A stimulus in the presence of which a given behavior has not produced reinforcement in the past

Stimulus generalization

When an antecedent stimulus evokes a response that has been reinforced, the same type of behavior tends to be evoked by stimuli that share similar physical properties with the controlling stimulus

Stimulus preference assessment

1. Asking the person or significant others. 2. Observing the person. 3. Measuring person's response to trial based tests.

Stimulus-stimulus pairing

A procedure in which 2 stimuli are presented at the same time, usually repeatedly for a number of trials, which often results in one stimulus acquiring the function of the other stimulus".

Three-term contingency

The basic unit of analysis in the analysis of operant behavior.

Unconditioned punisher

A stimulus change that decreases the frequency of any behavior that immediately precedes it irrespective of the organism's learning history with the stimulus.

Unconditioned reinforcer

A stimulus change that increases the frequency of any behavior that immediately precedes it irrespective of the organism's learning history with the stimulus.

Unconditioned negative reinforcer

A stimulus that functions as a negative reinforceras a result of the evolutionary development of the species (phylogeny); no prior learning is involved (e.g., shock, loud noise, intense light, extreme pressures against the body)".

Task analysis

Process of breaking a complex skill or series of behavior into smaller, teachable units.

Three term contingency

The basic unit of analysis in the analysis of operant behavior

Token economy

Participants earn generalized conditioned reinforcers as immediate consequence for specific behaviors, then exchange them for backup reinforcers.


The physical form or chape of behavior

Total-task training

Learner receives training on each behavior in chain during each session.

Trials-to criterion

Number of responses for a person to achieve a preestablished level of accuracy or proficiency

Unconditioned reinforcer

Stimulus change that INCREASES the frequency of behavior that precedes it irrespective of learning history

Unconditioned stimulus

The stimulus component of an unconditioned reflex; a stimulus change that elicits respondent behavior without any prior learning.

Variable interval (VI)

Schedule of reinforcement that produces reinforcement for the first correct response following the elapse of variable durations of time occuring in a random or unpredictable order.

Variable ratio

Schedule of reinforcement requiring a varying number of responses for reinforcement.

Whole interval recording

Time sampling method in which observation is divided into series of brief time intervals, behavior must occur during entire interval.

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