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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
An environmental condition or stimulus change existing or occurring prior to a behavior of interest.
A behavior change strategy that manipulates contingency-independent antecedent stimuli (motivating operations).
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").
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.
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.
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.
Punishment that occurs independent of the social mediation by others (i.e., a response product serves as a punisher independent of the social environment).
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."
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.
A contingency in which a response prevents or postpones the presentation of a stimulus.
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.
Tangible objects, activities, or privileges that serve as reinforcers and that can be purchased with tokens.
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.
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.)
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.
A term sometimes used to refer to the experimental reasoning inherent in single-subject experimental designs; entails three elements: prediction, verification, and replication.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
An uncontrolled factor known or suspected to exert influence on the dependent variable.
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.
Refers to dependent and/or temporal relations between operant behavior and its controlling variables.
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.)
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.
Describes reinforcement (or punishment) that is delivered only after the target behavior has occurred.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The results of measurement, usually in quantifiable form; in applied behavior analysis, it refers to measures of some quantifiable dimension of a behavior.
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.
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.
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).
descriptive functional behavior assessment
Direct observation of problem behavior and the antecedent & consequent events under naturally occurring conditions.
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.
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).
Occurs when the behavior that is measured is the same as the behavior that is the focus of the investigation.
An experiment in which the researcher attempts to duplicate exactly the conditions of an earlier experiment.
Measurement conducted in a manner such that some instances of the response class(es) of interest may not be detected.
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.
A contingency in which responding in the presence of a signal prevents the onset of a stimulus from which escape is a reinforcer.
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.
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.
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.
An assessment protocol that acknowledges complex interrelationships between environment and behavior. A method for obtaining data across multiple settings and persons.
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.
The conglomerate of real circumstances in which the organism or referenced part of the organism exists; behavior cannot occur in the absence of this.
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.
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?
Measurement procedure for obtaining a tally or count of the number of times a behavior occurs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The degree to which a study's findings have generality to other subjects, settings, and/or behaviors.
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.
An increase in the frequency of responding when an extinction procedure is initially implemented.
Any aspect of the experimental setting (e.g., lighting, temperature) that must be held constant to prevent unplanned environmental variation.
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-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A procedure for implementing DRL in which reinforcement is delivered at the end of the session if the total number of responses emitted during the session does not exceed a criterion limit.
A relatively permanent change in an organism's repertoire of MO, stimulus, and response relations, caused by reinforcement, punishment, an extinction procedure, or a recovery from punishment procedure. Respondent effects result from the pairing and unpairing of antecedent stimuli.
Designates responses as members of the targeted response class solely in terms of their common effect on the environment.
An analysis of the purposes (functions) of problem behavior, wherein antecedents and consequences representing those in the person's natural routines are arranged within an experimental design so that their separate effects on problem behavior can be observed and measured; typically consists of four conditions: three test conditions—contingent attention, contingent escape, and alone—and a control condition in which problem behavior
is expected to be low because reinforcement is freely available and no demands are placed on the person.
functional behavior assessment (FBA)
A systematic method of assessment for obtaining information about the purposes (functions) a problem behavior serves for a person; results are used to guide the design of an intervention for decreasing the problem behavior and increasing appropriate behavior.
functional communication training (FCT)
An antecedent intervention in which an appropriate communicative behavior is taught as a replacement behavior for problem behavior usually evoked by an establishing operation (EO); involves differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA).
A verbal statement summarizing the results of an experiment (or group of related experiments) that describes the occurrence of the phenomena under study as a function of the operation of one or more specified and controlled variables in the experiment in which a specific change in one event (the dependent variable) can be produced by manipulating another event (the independent variable), and that the change in the dependent variable was unlikely the result of other factors (confounding variables); in behavior analysis expressed as b = f (x1), (x2), . . . , where b is the behavior and x1, x2, etc., are environmental variables of which the behavior is a function.
Serving the same function or purpose; different topographies of behavior are this if they produce the same consequences.
general case analysis
A systematic process for identifying and selecting teaching examples that represent the full range of stimulus variations and response requirements in the generalization setting(s).
A generic term for a variety of behavioral processes and behavior change outcomes. (also known as generalization gradient, generalized behavior change, response generalization, response maintenance, setting/situation generalization, and stimulus generalization.)
generalization across subjects
Changes in the behavior of people not directly treated by an intervention as a function of treatment contingencies applied to other people.
Any measurement of a learner's performance of a target behavior in a setting and/or stimulus situation in which direct training has not been provided.
Any place or stimulus situation that differs in some meaningful way from the instructional setting and in which performance of the target behavior is desired.
generalized behavior change
A behavior change that has not been taught directly. These outcomes take one, or a combination of, three primary forms: response maintenance, stimulus/setting generalization, and response generalization.
generalized conditioned punisher
A stimulus change that, as a result of having been paired with many other punishers, functions as punishment under most conditions because it is free from the control of motivating conditions for specific types of punishment.
generalized conditioned reinforcer
A conditioned reinforcer that as a result of having been paired with many other reinforcers does not depend on an establishing operation for any particular form of reinforcement for its effectiveness.
generic tact extension
A tact evoked by a novel stimulus that shares all of the relevant or defining features associated with the original stimulus.
A visual format for displaying data; reveals relations among and between a series of measurements and relevant variables.
A contingency in which reinforcement for all members of a group is dependent on the behavior of (a) a person within the group, (b) a select group of members within the larger group, or (c) each member of the group meeting a performance criterion.
Occurs when a person's repertoire has been changed such that short and long term reinforcers are maximized and short and long term punishers are minimized.
A multiple-component treatment package for reducing unwanted habits such as fingernail biting and muscle tics; treatment typically includes self-awareness training involving response detection and procedures for identifying events that precede and trigger the response; competing response training; and motivation techniques including self-administered consequences, social support
systems, and procedures for promoting the generalization and maintenance of treatment gains.
A decrease in responsiveness to repeated presentations of a stimulus; most often used to describe a reduction of respondent behavior as a function of repeated presentation of the eliciting stimulus over a short span of time; some researchers suggest that the concept also applies to within-session changes in operant behavior.
A procedure for implementing time-out in which, contingent on the occurrence of an inappropriate behavior, the student is removed from the classroom to a hallway location near the room for a specified period of time.
Another term for a dependent group contingency (i.e., a person earns a reward for the group).
high-probability (high-p) request sequence
An antecedent intervention in which two to five easy tasks with a known history of learner compliance are presented in quick succession immediately before requesting the target task, the low-p request. Also called interspersed requests, pre-task requests, or behavioral momentum.
higher order conditioning
Development of a conditioned reflex by pairing of a neutral stimulus (NS) with a conditioned stimulus (CS). (also called secondary conditioning.
history of reinforcement
An inclusive term referring in general to all of a person's learning experiences and more specifically to past conditioning with respect to particular response classes or aspects of a person's repertoire.
A presumed but unobserved process or entity (e.g., Freud's id, ego, and superego).
A behavior controlled by any physical movement that serves as a novel model excluding vocal-verbal behavior, has formal similarity with the model, and immediately follows the occurrence of the model (e.g., within seconds of the model presentation). This behavior is a new behavior emitted following a novel antecedent event (i.e., the model).
A verbal operant involving a response that is
evoked by both an MO and a nonverbal stimulus; thus, the response is part mand and part tact.
independent group contingency
A contingency in which reinforcement for each member of a group is dependent on that person's meeting a performance criterion that is in effect for all members of the group.
The variable that is systematically manipulated by the researcher in an experiment to see whether changes in it produce reliable changes in the dependent variable. In applied behavior analysis, it is usually an environmental event or condition antecedent or consequent to the dependent variable. Sometimes called the intervention or treatment variable.
indirect functional assessment
Structured interviews, checklists, rating scales, or questionnaires used to obtain information from people who are familiar with the person exhibiting the problem behavior (e.g., teachers, parents, caregivers, and/or the individual him- or herself); used to identify conditions or events in the natural environment that correlate with the problem behavior.
Occurs when the behavior that is measured is in some way different from the behavior of interest; considered less valid than direct measurement because inferences about the relation between the data obtained and the actual behavior of interest are required.
A contingency that makes it difficult for the learner to discriminate whether the next response will produce reinforcement. Practitioners use these in the form of intermittent schedules of reinforcement and delayed rewards to promote generalized behavior change.
When the potential recipient of services or participant in a research study gives his explicit permission before any assessment or treatment is provided. Full disclosure of effects and side effects must be provided. To give consent, the person must (a) demonstrate the capacity to decide, (b) do so voluntarily, and (c) have adequate knowledge of all salient aspects of the treatment.
The environment where instruction occurs; includes all aspects of the environment, planned and unplanned, that may influence the learner's acquisition and generalization of the target behavior.
interdependent group contingency
A contingency in which reinforcement for all members of a group is dependent on each member of the group meeting a performance criterion that is in effect for all members of the group.
intermittent schedule of reinforcement (INT)
A contingency of reinforcement in which some, but not all, occurrences of the behavior produce reinforcement.
The extent to which an experiment shows convincingly that changes in behavior are a function of the independent variable and not the result of uncontrolled or unknown variables.
interobserver agreement (IOA)
The degree to which two or more independent observers report the same observed values after measuring the same events.
interresponse time (IRT)
A measure of temporal locus; defined as the elapsed time between two successive responses.
An index of the agreement between observers for data obtained by interval recording or time sampling measurement; calculated for a given session or measurement period by comparing the two observers' recordings of the occurrence or nonoccurrence of the behavior in each observation interval and dividing the number of intervals of agreement by the total number of
intervals and multiplying by 100. (also called the point-by- point or total interval IOA.)
A procedure for implementing DRL in which the total session is divided into equal intervals and reinforcement is provided at the end of each interval in which the number of responses during the interval is equal to or below a criterion limit.
An elementary verbal operant that is evoked by a verbal discriminative stimulus and that does not have point-to-point correspondence with that verbal stimulus.
A situation that occurs when the level of responding observed in a previous phase cannot be reproduced even though the experimental conditions are the same as they were during the earlier phase.
lag reinforcement schedule
A schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcement is contingent on a response being different in some specified way (e.g., different topography) from the previous response or a specified number of previous responses.
A measure of temporal locus; the elapsed time from the onset of a stimulus (e.g., task direction, cue) to the initiation of a response. (also known as response latency.)
A component of some token economy systems in which participants advance up (or down) through a succession of levels contingent on their behavior at the current level. The performance criteria and sophistication or difficulty of the behaviors required at each level are higher than those of preceding levels; as participants advance to higher levels, they gain access to more desirable reinforcers, increased privileges, and greater independence.
A situation in which reinforcement is available only during a finite time following the elapse of an FI or VI interval; if the target response does not occur within the time limit, reinforcement is withheld and a new interval begins.
Based on a Cartesian plane, a two-dimensional area formed by the intersection of two perpendicular lines. Any point within the plane represents a specific relation between the two dimensions described by the intersecting lines. It is the most common graphic format for displaying data in applied behavior analysis.
Someone who provides reinforcement for verbal behavior. A listener may also serve as an audience evoking verbal behavior. (Contrast with speaker.)
local response rate
The average rate of response during a smaller period of time within a larger period for which an overall response rate has been given.
The force or intensity with which a response is emitted; provides important quantitative parameters used in defining and verifying the occurrence of some response classes. Responses meeting those criteria are measured
and reported by one or more fundamental or derivative measures such as frequency, duration, or latency. Sometimes called amplitude.
Two different meanings in applied behavior analysis: (a) the extent to which the learner continues to perform the target behavior after a portion or all of the intervention has been terminated (i.e., response maintenance), a dependent variable or characteristic of behavior; and (b) a condition in which treatment has been discontinued or partially withdrawn, an independent variable or experimental condition.
A self-directed behavior change technique in which the person forces himself to perform an undesired behavior (e.g., a compulsive ritual) repeatedly, which sometimes decreases the future frequency of the behavior.
The allocation of responses to choices available on concurrent schedules of reinforcement; rates of responding across choices are distributed in proportions that match the rates of reinforcement received from each choice alternative.
A procedure for investigating conditional relations and stimulus equivalence. A matching-to-sample trial begins with the participant making a response that presents or reveals the sample stimulus; next, the sample stimulus may or may not be removed, and two or more comparison stimuli are presented. The participant then selects one of the comparison stimuli. Responses that select a comparison stimulus that matches the sample stimulus are reinforced, and no reinforcement is provided for responses selecting the non matching comparison stimuli.
mean count-per-interval IOA
The average percentage of agreement between the counts reported by two observers in a measurement period comprised of a series of smaller counting times; a more conservative measure of IOA than total count IOA.
mean duration-per-occurrence IOA
An IOA index for duration per occurrence data; also a more conservative and usually more meaningful assessment of IOA for total duration data calculated for a given session or measurement period by computing the average percentage of agreement of the durations reported by two observers for each occurrence of the target behavior.
Nonrandom measurement error; a form of inaccurate measurement in which the data consistently overestimate or underestimate the true value of an event.
measurement by permanent product
A method of measuring behavior after it has occurred by recording the effects that the behavior produced on the environment.
An approach to explaining behavior that assumes that a mental, or "inner," dimension exists that differs from a behavioral dimension and that phenomena in this dimension either directly cause or at least mediate some forms of behavior, if not all.
metaphorical (tact) extension
A tact evoked by a novel stimulus that shares some, but not all, of the relevant features of the original stimulus.
A philosophical position that views behavioral events that cannot be publicly observed as outside the realm of science.
metonymical (tact) extension
A tact evoked by a novel stimulus that shares none of the relevant features of the original stimulus configuration, but some irrelevant yet related feature has acquired stimulus control.
mixed schedule (mix)
A compound schedule of reinforcement consisting of two or more basic schedules of reinforcement (elements) that occur in an alternating, usually random, sequence; no discriminative stimuli are correlated with the presence or absence of each element of the schedule, and reinforcement is delivered for meeting the response requirements of the element in effect at any time.
momentary time sampling
A measurement method in which the presence or absence of behaviors are recorded at precisely specified time intervals. (Contrast with interval recording.)
motivating operation (MO)
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.
An experimental design in which two or more conditions (one of which may be a non treatment 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 known as alternating treatments design, concurrent schedule design, multiple schedule design.)
multiple baseline across behaviors design
A multiple baseline design in which the treatment variable is applied to two or more different behaviors of the same subject in the same setting.
multiple baseline across settings design
A multiple baseline design in which the treatment variable is applied to the same behavior of the same subject across two or more different settings, situations, or time periods.
multiple baseline across subjects design
A multiple baseline design in which the treatment variable is applied to the same behavior of two or more subjects (or groups) in the same setting.
multiple baseline design
An experimental design that begins with the concurrent measurement of two or more behaviors in a baseline condition, followed by the application of the treatment variable to one of the behaviors while baseline conditions remain in effect for the other behavior(s). After maximum change has been noted in the first behavior, the treatment variable is applied in sequential fashion to each of the other behaviors in the design. Experimental control is demonstrated if each behavior shows similar changes when, and only when, the treatment variable is introduced.
multiple control (of verbal behavior)
There are two types of multiple control: (a) convergent multiple control occurs when a single verbal response is a function of more than one variable and (b) what is said has more than one antecedent source of control. Divergent multiple control occurs when a single antecedent variable affects the strength of more than one responses.
multiple exemplar training
Instruction that provides the learner with practice with a variety of stimulus conditions, response variations, and response topographies to ensure the acquisition of desired stimulus controls response forms; used to promote both setting/situation generalization and response generalization. (Also called teaching sufficient examples.)
multiple probe design
A variation of the multiple baseline design that features intermittent measures, or probes, during baseline. It is used to evaluate the effects of instruction on skill sequences in which it is unlikely that the subject can improve performance on later steps in the sequence before learning prior steps.
multiple schedule (mult)
A compound schedule of reinforcement consisting of two or more basic schedules of reinforcement (elements) that occur in an alternating, usually random, sequence; a discriminative stimulus is correlated with the presence or absence of each element of the schedule, and reinforcement is delivered for meeting the response requirements of the element in effect at any time.
multiple treatment interference
The effects of one treatment on a subject's behavior being confounding by the influence of another treatment administered in the same study.
multiple treatment reversal design
Any experimental design that uses the experimental methods and logic of the reversal tactic to compare the effects of two or more experimental conditions to baseline and/or to one another (e.g., A-B-A-B-C-B-C; A-B-A-C-A-D-A-C-A-D. A-B-A-B-B+C-B-B+C).
An observer who is unaware of the study's purpose and/or the experimental conditions in effect during a given phase or observation period. Data obtained by a naive observer are less likely to be influenced by observers' expectations.
naturally existing contingency
Any contingency of reinforcement (or punishment) that operates independent of the behavior analyst's or practitioner's efforts; includes socially mediated contingencies contrived by other people and already in effect in the relevant setting. (Contrast with contrived contingency.)
A response behavior is followed immediately by the removal of a stimulus (or a decrease in the intensity of the stimulus), that decreases the future frequency of similar responses under similar conditions; sometimes called Type II punishment. (Contrast with positive punishment.)
A stimulus whose termination (or reduction in intensity) functions as a reinforcement. (Contrast with positive reinforcer.)
neutral stimulus (NS)
A stimulus change that does not elicit respondent behavior. (Compare to conditioned stimulus (CS), unconditioned stimulus (US).)
noncontingent reinforcement (NCR)
A procedure in which stimuli with known reinforcing properties are presented on fixed-time (FT) or variable-time (VT) schedules completely independent of behavior; often used as an antecedent intervention to reduce problem behavior.
noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) reversal technique
An experimental control technique that demonstrates the effects of reinforcement by using noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) as a control condition instead of a no reinforcement (baseline) condition. During the NCR
condition, the stimulus change used as reinforcement in the reinforcement condition is presented on a fixed or variable time schedule independent of the subject's behavior. A higher level of responding during the reinforcement condition than during the NCR condition demonstrates that the changes in behavior are the result of contingent reinforcement, not simply the presentation of or contact with the stimulus event. (Compare with DRI/DRA reversal technique, DRO reversal technique.)
A procedure for implementing timeout in which, contingent on the occurrence of the target behavior, the person remains within the setting, but does not have access to reinforcement, for a specified period.
As a philosophy and principle, the belief that people with disabilities should, to the maximum extent possible, be physically and socially integrated into the mainstream of society regardless of the degree or type of disability. As an approach to intervention, the use of progressively more typical settings and procedures "to establish and/or maintain personal behaviors which are as culturally normal as possible" (Wolfensberger, 1972, p. 28).
A measure produced by an observation and measurement system. Observed values serve as the data that the researcher and others will interpret to form conclusions about an investigation. (Compare with true value.)
Any unintended change in the way an observer uses a measurement system over the course of an investigation that results in measurement error; often entails a shift in the observer's interpretation of the original definitions of the target behavior subsequent to being trained.
Influence on the data reported by an observer that results from the observer's awareness that others are evaluating the data he reports.
Behavior that is selected, maintained, and brought under stimulus control as a function of its consequences; each person's repertoire of operant behavior is a product of his history of interactions with the environment (ontogeny).
The basic process by which operant learning occurs; consequences (stimulus changes immediately following responses) result in an increased (reinforcement) or decreased (punishment) frequency of the same type of behavior under similar motivational and environmental conditions in the future.
A behavior change tactic based on positive punishment in which, contingent on the problem behavior, the learner is required to engage in effortful behavior directly or logically related to fixing the damage caused by the behavior. Forms of overcorrection are restitutional overcorrection and positive practice overcorrection.
An experiment designed to discover the differential effects of a range of values of an independent variable.
The practice of ruling out simple, logical explanations, experimentally or conceptually, before considering more complex or abstract explanations.
A time sampling method for measuring behavior in which the observation period is divided into a series of brief time intervals (typically from 5 to 10 seconds). The observer records whether the target behavior occurred at any time during the interval. Partial-interval recording is not concerned with how many times the behavior occurred during the interval or how long the behavior was present, just that it occurred at some point during the interval; tends to overestimate the proportion of the observation
period that the behavior actually occurred.
An exclusion procedure for implementing time-out in which, contingent on the occurrence of the target behavior, the person remains within the time-in setting, but stays behind a wall, shield, or barrier that restricts the view.
A ratio (i.e., a proportion) formed by combining the same dimensional quantities, such as count (number ÷ number) or time (duration ÷ duration; latency ÷ latency); expressed as a number of parts per 100; typically expressed as a ratio of the number of responses of a certain type per total number of responses (or opportunities or intervals in which such a response could have occurred). A percentage
presents a proportional quantity per 100.
An attitude that the truthfulness and validity of all scientific theory and knowledge should be continually questioned.
A behavior that, when learned, produces corresponding modifications or co-variation in other untrained behaviors. (Compare to behavioral cusp.)
A procedure that prevents a subject from detecting the presence or absence of the treatment variable. To the subject the placebo condition appears the same as the treatment condition (e.g., a placebo pill contains an inert substance but looks, feels, and tastes exactly like a pill that contains the treatment drug).
planned activity check (PLACHECK)
A variation of momentary time sampling in which the observer records whether each person in a group is engaged in the target behavior at specific points in time; provides a measure of "group behavior."
A procedure for implementing time-out in which social reinforcers—usually attention, physical contact, and verbal interaction—are withheld for a brief period contingent on the occurrence of the target behavior.
A relation between the stimulus and response or response product that occurs when the beginning, middle, and end of the verbal stimulus matches the beginning, middle, and end of the verbal response. The verbal relations with point-to-point correspondence are echoic, copying a text, imitation as it relates to sign language, textual, and transcription.
positive practice overcorrection
A form of overcorrection in which, contingent on an occurrence of the target behavior, the learner is required to repeated a correct form of the behavior, or a behavior incompatible with the problem behavior, a specified number of times; entails an educative component.
A behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that decreases the future frequency of the behavior; sometimes called Type I punishment.
(Contrast with negative punishment.)
Occurs when a behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that increases the future frequency of the behavior in similar conditions
(Contrast to negative reinforcement.)
A stimulus whose presentation or onset functions as reinforcement. (Contrast with negative reinforcer.)
The absence of responding for a period of time following reinforcement; an effect commonly produced by fixed interval (FI) and fixed ratio (FR) schedules of reinforcement.
Improvements in performance resulting from opportunities to perform a behavior repeatedly so that baseline measures can be obtained.
A statement of the anticipated outcome of a presently unknown or future measurement; one of three components of the experimental reasoning, or baseline logic, used in single-subject research designs.
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.
principle of behavior
A statement describing a functional relation between behavior and one or more of its controlling
programming common stimuli
A tactic for promoting setting/situation generalization by making the instructional setting similar to the generalization setting; the two-step process involves: (1) identifying salient stimuli that characterize the generalization setting and (2) incorporating those stimuli into the instructional setting.
progressive schedule of reinforcement
A schedule that systematically thins each successive reinforcement opportunity independent of the individual's behavior; progressive ratio (PR) and progressive interval (PI) schedules are thinned using arithmetic or geometric progressions.
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.
A thoroughgoing form of behaviorism that attempts to understand all human behavior, including private events such as thoughts and feelings, in terms of controlling variables in the history of the person (ontogeny) and the species (phylogeny).
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 frequency. The ratio is formed by combining the different dimensional quantities of count and time (i.e., count time). Ratios formed from different dimensional quantities retain their dimensional quantities. Rate and frequency in behavioral measurement are synonymous terms. (Contrast with percentage.)
A behavioral effect associated with abrupt increases in ratio requirements when moving from denser to thinner reinforcement schedules; common effects include avoidance, aggression, and unpredictable pauses or cessation in responding.
Effects of an observation and measurement procedure on the behavior being measured. Reactivity is most likely when measurement procedures are obtrusive, especially
if the person being observed is aware of the observer's presence and purpose.
recovery from punishment procedure
The occurrence of a previously punished type of response without its punishing consequence. This procedure is analogous to the extinction of previously reinforced behavior and has the effect of undoing the effect of the punishment.
A stimulus-response relation consisting of an antecedent stimulus and the respondent behavior it elicits (e.g., bright light-pupil contraction). Unconditioned and conditioned reflexes protect against harmful stimuli, help regulate the internal balance and economy of the organism, and promote reproduction.
reflexive conditioned motivating operation (CMO-R)
A stimulus that acquires MO effectiveness by preceding some form of worsening or improvement. It is exemplified by the warning stimulus in a typical escape-avoidance procedure, which establishes its own offset as reinforcement and evokes all behavior that has accomplished that offset.
A type of stimulus-to-stimulus relation in which the learner, without any prior training or reinforcement for doing so, selects a comparison stimulus that is the same as
the sample stimulus (e.g., A = A). Reflexivity would be demonstrated in the following matching-to-sample procedure: The sample stimulus is a picture of a tree, and the three comparison stimuli are a picture of a mouse, a picture of a cookie, and a duplicate of the tree picture used as the sample stimulus. The learner selects the picture of the tree without specific reinforcement in the past for making the tree-picture-to-tree-picture match.
(Also called generalized identity matching.)
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.
reinforcer-abolishing effect (of a motivating operation)
A decrease in the reinforcing effectiveness of a stimulus, object, or event caused by a motivating operation. For example, food ingestion abolishes (decreases) the reinforcing effectiveness of food.
Refers to a variety of direct, empirical methods for presenting one or more stimuli contingent on a target response and measuring their effectiveness as reinforcers.
reinforcer-establishing effect (of a motivating operation)
An increase in the reinforcing effectiveness of a stimulus, object, or event caused by a motivating operation. For example,food deprivation establishes (increases) the reinforcing effectiveness of food.
relevance of behavior rule
Holds that only behaviors likely to produce reinforcement in the person's natural environment should be targeted for change.
reliability (of measurement)
Refers to the consistency of measurement, specifically, the extent to which repeated measurement of the same event yields the same values.
Refers to the fact that a behavior can occur repeatedly through time (i.e., behavior can be counted); one of the three dimensional quantities of behavior from which all behavioral measurements are derived.
All of the behaviors a person can do; or a set of behaviors relevant to a particular setting or task (e.g., gardening, mathematical problem solving).
(a) Repeating conditions within an experiment
to determine the reliability of effects and increase internal validity. (b) Repeating whole experiments to determine the generality of findings of previous experiments to other subjects, settings, and/or behaviors.
resistance to extinction
The relative frequency with which operant behavior is emitted during extinction.
The response component of a reflex; behavior that is elicited, or induced, by antecedent stimuli.
A stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure in which a neutral stimulus (NS) is presented with an unconditioned stimulus (US) until the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits the conditioned response (also called classical or Pavlovian conditioning).
The repeated presentation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (US); the CS gradually loses its ability to elicit the conditioned response until the conditioned reflex no longer appears in the individual's repertoire.
A single instance or occurrence of a specific class or type of behavior. Technical definition: an "action of an organism's effector. An effector is an organ at the end of an efferent nerve fiber that is specialized for altering its environment mechanically, chemically, or in terms of other energy changes" (Michael, 2004, p. 8).
A procedure in which the therapist physically intervenes as soon as the learner begins to emit a problem behavior to prevent completion of the targeted behavior.
A group of responses of varying topography, all of which produce the same effect on the environment.
The contingent loss of reinforcers (e.g., a fine), producing a decrease of the frequency of behavior; a form of negative punishment.
A model for predicting whether contingent access to one behavior will function as reinforcement for engaging in another behavior based on whether access to the contingent behavior represents a restriction of the activity compared to the baseline level of engagement.
A behavior change produced by differential reinforcement: Reinforced members of the current response class occur with greater frequency, and unreinforced members occur less frequently (undergo extinction); the overall result is the emergence of a new response class.
The extent to which a learner emits untrained responses that are functionally equivalent to the trained target behavior. (Compare to response maintenance and setting/situation generalization.)
A measure of temporal locus; the elapsed time from the onset of a stimulus (e.g., task direction, cue) to the initiation of a response. (Also known as latency)
The extent to which a learner continues to perform the target behavior after a portion or all of the intervention responsible for the behavior's initial appearance in the learner's repertoire has been terminated. Often called maintenance, durability, behavioral persistence, and (incorrectly) resistance to extinction. (Compare to response generalization and setting/situation generalization.)
A form of overcorrection in which, contingent on the problem behavior, the learner is required to repair the damage or return the environment to its original state and then to engage in additional behavior to bring the environment to a condition vastly better than it was in prior to the misbehavior.
Any experimental design in which the researcher attempts to verify the effect of the independent variable by "reversing" responding to a level obtained in a previous condition; encompasses experimental designs in which the independent variable is withdrawn (A-B-A-B) or reversed in its focus (e.g., DRI/DRA).
Behavior controlled by a rule (i.e., a verbal statement of an antecedent-behavior-consequence contingency); enables human behavior (e.g., fastening a seat belt) to come under the indirect control of temporally remote or improbable but potentially significant consequences (e.g., avoiding injury in an auto accident). Often used in contrast to contingency-shaped behavior, a term used to indicate behavior selected and maintained by controlled, temporally close consequences.
A decrease in the frequency of operant behavior presumed to be the result of continued contact with or consumption of a reinforcer that has followed the behavior; also refers to a procedure for reducing the effectiveness of a reinforcer (e.g., presenting a person with copious amounts of a reinforcing stimulus prior to a session).
A two-dimensional graph that shows the relative distribution of individual measures in a data set with respect to the variables depicted by the x and y axes. Data points on a scatterplot are not connected.
schedule of reinforcement
A rule specifying the environmental arrangements and response requirements for reinforcement; a description of a contingency of reinforcement.
Changing a contingency of reinforcement by gradually increasing the response ratio or the extent of the time interval; it results in a lower rate of reinforcement per responses, time, or both.
A systematic approach to the understanding of natural phenomena (as evidenced by description, prediction, and control) that relies on determinism as its fundamental assumption, empiricism as its primary rule, experimentation as its basic strategy, replication as a requirement for believability, parsimony as a value, and philosophic doubt as its guiding conscience.
An interobserver agreement index based only on the intervals in which either observer recorded the occurrence of the behavior; calculated by dividing the number of intervals in which the two observers agreed that the behavior occurred by the number of intervals in which either or both observers recorded the occurrence of the behavior and multiplying by 100. Scored-interval IOA is recommended as a measure of agreement for behaviors that occur at low rates because it ignores the intervals in which agreement by chance is highly likely. (Compare to interval-by-interval IOA and unscored-interval IOA.)
selection by consequences
The fundamental principle underlying operant conditioning; the basic tenet is that all forms of (operant) behavior, from simple to complex, are selected, shaped, and maintained by their consequences during an individual's lifetime; Skinner's concept of selection by consequences is parallel to Darwin's concept of natural selection of genetic structures in the evolution of species.
Contingency contract that a person makes with himself, incorporating a self-selected task and reward as well as personal monitoring of task completions and self delivery of the reward.
Two meanings: (a) A person's ability to "delay gratification" by emitting a response that will produce a larger (or higher quality) delayed reward over a response that produces a smaller but immediate reward (sometimes considered impulse control); (b) A person's behaving in a certain way so as to change a subsequent behavior (i.e., to self-manage her own behavior). Skinner (1953) conceptualized it as a two-response phenomenon: The controlling response affects variables in such a way as to change the probability of the controlled response.
A procedure in which a person compares his performance of a target behavior with a predetermined goal or standard; often a component of self-management.
Sometimes called self-assessment.
Self-generated verbal responses, covert or overt, that function as rules or response prompts for a desired behavior; as a self-management tactic, self-instruction can
guide a person through a behavior chain or sequence of tasks.
The personal application of behavior change tactics that produces a desired change in behavior.
A procedure whereby a person systematically observes his behavior and records the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a target behavior. (Also called self-recording or self-observation.)
A two-dimensional graph with a logarithmic scaled y axis so that equal distances on the vertical axis represent changes in behavior that are of equal proportion.
The process by which behaviors maintained by automatic reinforcement are placed on extinction by masking or removing the sensory consequence.
The effects on a subject's behavior in a given condition that are the result of the subject's experience with a prior condition.
The extent to which a learner emits the target behavior in a setting or stimulus situation that is different from the instructional setting.
Using differential reinforcement to produce a series of gradually changing response classes; each response class is a successive approximation toward a terminal behavior. Members of an existing response class are selected for differential reinforcement because they more closely resemble the terminal behavior.
A wide variety of research designs that use a form of experimental reasoning called baseline logic to demonstrate the effects of the independent variable on the behavior of individual subjects. (Also called single-case, within-subject, and intra-subject designs).
Refers to the extent to which target behaviors are appropriate, intervention procedures are acceptable, and important and significant changes in target and collateral behaviors are produced.
solistic (tact) extension
A verbal response evoked by a stimulus property that is only indirectly related to the proper tact relation (e.g., Yogi Berra's classic malapropism: "Baseball is ninety percent mental; the other half is physical."
A procedure for implementing DRL in which reinforcement follows each occurrence of the target behavior that is separated from the previous response by a minimum interresponse time (IRT).
Someone who engages in verbal behavior by emitting mands, tacts, intraverbals, autoclitics, and so on. A speaker is also someone who uses sign language, gestures, signals, written words, codes, pictures, or any form of verbal behavior. (Contrast with listener.)
split-middle line of progress
A line drawn through a series of graphed data points that shows the overall trend in the data; drawn through the intersections of the vertical and horizontal middles of each half of the charted data and then adjusted up or down so that half of all the data points fall on or above and half fall on or below the line.
A behavioral effect associated with extinction in which the behavior suddenly begins to occur after its frequency has decreased to its prereinforcement level or stopped entirely.
Data that show no evidence of an upward or downward trend; all of the measures fall within a relatively small range of values.
Standard Celeration Chart
A multiply-divide chart with six base-10 (or × 10, ÷ 10) cycles on the vertical axis that can accommodate response rates as low as 1 per 24 hours (0.000695 per minute) to as high as 1,000 per minute. It enables the standardized charting of celeration, a factor by which rate of behavior multiplies or divides per unit of time.
steady state responding
A pattern of responding that exhibits relatively little variation in its measured dimensional quantities over a period of time.
steady state strategy
Repeatedly exposing a subject to a given condition while trying to eliminate or control extraneous influences on the behavior and obtaining a stable pattern of responding before introducing the next condition.
"An energy change that affects an organism through its receptor cells" (Michael, 2004, p. 7).
A group of stimuli that share specified common elements along formal (e.g., size, color), temporal (e.g., antecedent or consequent), and/or functional (e.g., discriminative stimulus) dimensions.
A situation in which the frequency, latency, duration, or amplitude of a behavior is altered by the presence or absence of an antecedent stimulus.
stimulus delta (SΔ)
A stimulus in the presence of which a given behavior has not produced reinforcement in the past.
(Contrast with discriminative stimulus (SD).)
stimulus discrimination training
The conventional procedure requires one behavior and two antecedent stimulus conditions. Responses are reinforced in the presence of one stimulus condition, the SD, but not in the presence of the other stimulus, the SΔ
The emergence of accurate responding to untrained and nonreinforced stimulus-stimulus relations following the reinforcement of responses to some stimulus-stimulus relations. A positive demonstration of reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity is necessary to meet the definition of equivalence.
When an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in its presence, the same type of behavior tends to be evoked by stimuli that share similar physical properties with the controlling antecedent stimulus.
stimulus generalization gradient
A graphic depiction of the extent to which behavior that has been reinforced in the presence of a specific stimulus condition is emitted in the presence of other stimuli. The gradient shows relative degree of stimulus generalization and stimulus control (or discrimination). A flat slope across test stimuli shows a high degree of stimulus generalization and relatively little discrimination between the trained stimulus and other stimuli; a slope that drops sharply from its highest point corresponding to the trained stimulus indicates a high degree of stimulus control (discrimination) and relatively little stimulus generalization.
stimulus preference assessment
A variety of procedures used to determine the stimuli that a person prefers, the relative preference values (high versus low) of those stimuli, the conditions under which those preference values remain in effect, and their presumed value as reinforcers.
A procedure in which two 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.
The sequence of new response classes that emerge during the shaping process as the result of differential reinforcement; each successive response class is closer in form to the terminal behavior than the response class it replaces.
surrogate conditioned motivating operation (CMO-S)
A stimulus that acquires its MO effectiveness by being paired with another MO and has the same value-altering and behavior-altering effects as the MO with which it was
A type of stimulus-to-stimulus relationship in which the learner, without prior training or reinforcement for doing so, demonstrates the reversibility of matched sample and comparison stimuli (e.g., if A = B, then B = A). Symmetry would be demonstrated in the following matching-to-sample procedure: The learner is taught, when presented with the spoken word car (sample stimulus A), to select a comparison picture of a car (comparison B). When presented with the picture of a car (sample stimulus B), without additional training or reinforcement, the learner selects the comparison spoken word car (comparison A).
A behavior therapy treatment for anxieties, fears, and phobias that involves substituting one response, generally muscle relaxation, for the unwanted behavior—the fear and anxiety. The client practices relaxing while imagining anxiety-producing situations in a sequence from the least fearful to the most fearful.
An experiment in which the researcher purposefully varies one or more aspects of an earlier experiment. A systematic replication that reproduces the results of previous research not only demonstrates the reliability of the earlier findings but also adds to the external validity of the earlier findings by showing that the same effect can be obtained under different conditions.
An elementary verbal operant evoked by a nonverbal discriminative stimulus and followed by generalized conditioned reinforcement.
A schedule of reinforcement identical to the chained schedule except, like the mix schedule, the tandem schedule does not use discriminative stimuli with the elements in the chain.
The response class selected for intervention; can be defined either functionally or topographically.
The process of breaking a complex skill or series of behaviors into smaller, teachable units; also refers to the results of this process.
Randomly varying functionally irrelevant stimuli within and across teaching sessions; promotes setting/ situation generalization by reducing the likelihood that (a) a single or small group of noncritical stimuli will acquire exclusive control over the target behavior and (2) the learner's performance of the target behavior will be impeded or "thrown off" should he encounter any of the "loose" stimuli in the generalization setting.
teaching sufficient examples
A strategy for promoting generalized behavior change that consists of teaching the learner to respond to a subset of all of the relevant stimulus and response examples and then assessing the learner's performance on untrained examples. (Also called multiple exemplar training.)
Refers to the fact that every instance of behavior occurs during some amount of time; one of the three dimensional quantities of behavior from which all behavioral measurements are derived.
Refers to the fact that every instance of behavior occurs at a certain point in time with respect to other events (i.e., when in time behavior occurs can be measured); often measured in terms of response latency and interresponse time (IRT); one of the three dimensional quantities of behavior from which all behavioral measurements are derived.
An elementary verbal operant involving a response that is evoked by a verbal discriminative stimulus that has point-to-point correspondence, but not formal similarity, between the stimulus and the response product.
The basic unit of analysis in the analysis of operant behavior; encompasses the temporal and possibly dependent relations among an antecedent stimulus, behavior, and consequence.
time-out from positive reinforcement
The contingent withdrawal of the opportunity to earn positive reinforcement or the loss of access to positive reinforcers for a specified time; a form of negative punishment (also called time-out).
A procedure for implementing nonexclusion time-out in which a child wears a ribbon or wristband that becomes discriminative for receiving reinforcement. Contingent on misbehavior, the ribbon is removed and access to social and other reinforcers are unavailable for a specific period. When time-out ends, the ribbon or band is returned to the child and time-in begins.
A measurement of the presence or absence of behavior within specific time intervals. It is most useful with continuous and high-rate behaviors.
An object that is awarded contingent on appropriate behavior and that serves as the medium of exchange for
A system whereby participants earn generalized conditioned reinforcers (e.g., tokens, chips, points) as an immediate consequence for specific behaviors; participants accumulate tokens and exchange them for items and activities from a menu of backup reinforcers.
Defines instances of the targeted response class by the shape or form of the behavior.
total count IOA
The simplest indicator of IOA for event recording data; based on comparing the total count recorded by each observer per measurement period; calculated by dividing the smaller of the two observers' counts by the larger count and multiplying by 100.
total duration IOA
A relevant index of IOA for total duration measurement; computed by dividing the shorter of the two durations reported by the observers by the longer duration and multiplying by 100.
A variation of forward chaining in which the learner receives training on each behavior in the chain during each session.
An elementary verbal operant involving a spoken verbal stimulus that evokes a written, typed, or finger-spelled response. Like the textual, there is point-to-point correspondence between the stimulus and the response product, but no formal similarity.
transitive conditioned motivating operation (CMO-T)
An environmental variable that, as a result of a learning history, establishes (or abolishes) the reinforcing effectiveness of another stimulus and evokes (or abates) the behavior that has been reinforced by that other stimulus.
A derived (i.e., untrained) stimulus-stimulus relation (e.g., A = C, C = A) that emerges as a product of training two other stimulus-stimulus relations (e.g., A = B and B = C). For example, transitivity would be demonstrated if, after training the two stimulus-stimulus relations shown in 1 and 2 below, the relation shown in 3 emerges without additional instruction or reinforcement: (1) If A (e.g., spoken word bicycle) = B (e.g., the picture of a bicycle), and
(2) B (the picture of a bicycle) = C (e.g., the written word bicycle), then (3) C (the written word bicycle) = A (the spoken name, bicycle).
An undesirable situation in which the independent variable of an experiment is applied differently during later stages than it was at the outset of the study.
The extent to which the independent variable is applied exactly as planned and described and no other unplanned variables are administered inadvertently along with the planned treatment. (Also called procedural fidelity.)
The overall direction taken by a data path. It is described in terms of direction (increasing, decreasing, or zero trend), degree (gradual or steep), and the extent of variability of data points around the trend. Trend is used in predicting future measures of the behavior under unchanging conditions.
An IOA index for discrete trial data based on comparing the observers' counts (0 or 1) on a trial-by-trial, or item-by-item, basis; yields a more conservative and meaningful index of IOA for discrete trial data than does total count IOA.
A special form of event recording; a measure of the number of responses or practice opportunities needed for a person to achieve a pre-established level of accuracy or proficiency.
A measure accepted as a quantitative description of the true state of some dimensional quantity of an event as it exists in nature. Obtaining true values requires "special or extraordinary precautions to ensure that all possible sources of error have been avoided or removed" (Johnston & Pennypacker, 1993a, p. 136). (Compare with observed value.)
Type I error
An error that occurs when a researcher concludes that the independent variable had an effect on the dependent variable, when no such relation exists; a false positive. (Contrast with Type II error.)
Type II error
An error that occurs when a researcher concludes that the independent variable had no effect on the dependent variable, when in truth it did; a false negative.
(Contrast with Type I error.)
unconditioned motivating operation (UMO)
A motivating operation whose value-altering effect does not depend on a learning history. For example, food deprivation increases the reinforcing effectiveness of food without the necessity of any learning history.
unconditioned negative reinforcer
A stimulus that functions as a negative reinforcer as a result of the evolutionary development of the species (phylogeny); no prior learning is involved (e.g., shock, loud noise, intense light, extreme temperatures, strong pressure against the body).
A stimulus change that decreases the frequency of any behavior that immediately precedes it irrespective of the organism's learning history with the stimulus. They are products of the evolutionary development of the species (phylogeny), meaning that all members of a species are more or less susceptible to punishment by the presentation of them. (Compare with conditioned punisher.)
An unlearned stimulus-response functional relation consisting of an antecedent stimulus (e.g., food in mouth) that elicits the response (e.g., salivation); a product of the phylogenic evolution of a given species; all biologically intact members of a species are born with similar repertoires of unconditioned reflexes.
A stimulus change that increases the frequency of any behavior that immediately precedes it irrespective of the organism's learning history with the stimulus. They are the product of the evolutionary development of the species (phylogeny). (Compare with conditioned reinforcer.)
unconditioned stimulus (US)
The stimulus component of an unconditioned reflex; a stimulus change that elicits respondent behavior without any prior learning.
Two kinds: (a) The occurrence alone of a stimulus that acquired its function by being paired with an already effective stimulus, or (b) the occurrence of the stimulus in the absence as well as in the presence of the effective stimulus. Both kinds of unpairing undo the result of the pairing: the occurrence alone of the stimulus that became a conditioned reinforcer; and the occurrence of the unconditioned reinforcer in the absence as well as in the presence of the conditioned reinforcer.
An interobserver agreement index based only on the intervals in which either observer recorded the nonoccurrence of the behavior; calculated by dividing the number of intervals in which the two observers agreed that the behavior did not occur by the number of intervals in which either or both observers recorded the nonoccurrence of the behavior and multiplying by 100. It is recommended as a measure of agreement for behaviors that occur at high rates because it ignores the intervals in which agreement by chance is highly likely. (Compare to interval-by-interval IOA, scored-interval IOA.)
validity (of measurement)
The extent to which data obtained from measurement are directly relevant to the target behavior of interest and to the reason(s) for measuring it.
value-altering effect (of a motivating operation)
An alteration in the reinforcing effectiveness of a stimulus, object, or event as a result of a motivating operation. For example, the reinforcing effectiveness of food is altered as a result of food deprivation and food ingestion.
The frequency and extent to which multiple measures of behavior yield different outcomes.
Data points that do not consistently fall within a narrow range of values and do not suggest any clear trend.
variable interval (VI)
A schedule of reinforcement that provides reinforcement for the first correct response following the elapse of variable durations of time occurring in a random or unpredictable order. The mean duration of the intervals is used to describe the schedule (e.g., on a VI 10- minute schedule, reinforcement is delivered for the first response following an average of 10 minutes since the last reinforced response, but the time that elapses following
the last reinforced response might range from 30 seconds
or less to 25 minutes or more).
variable-interval DRO (VI-DRO)
A DRO procedure in which reinforcement is available at the end of intervals of variable duration and delivered contingent on the absence of the problem behavior during the interval.
variable-momentary DRO (VM-DRO)
A DRO procedure in which reinforcement is available at specific moments of time, which are separated by variable amounts of time in random sequence, and delivered if the problem is not occurring at those times.
variable ratio (VR)
A schedule of reinforcement requiring a varying number of responses for reinforcement. The number of responses required varies around a random number; the mean number of responses required for reinforcement is used to describe the schedule (e.g., on a VR 10 schedule an average of 10 responses must be emitted for reinforcement, but the number of responses required following the last reinforced response might range from 1 to 30 or more).
variable-time schedule (VT)
A schedule for the delivery of noncontingent stimuli in which the interval of time from one delivery to the next randomly varies around a given time. For example, on a VT 1-minute schedule, the delivery-to-delivery interval might range from 5 seconds to 2 minutes,but the average interval would be 1 minute.
Behavior whose reinforcement is mediated by a listener; includes both vocal-verbal behavior (e.g., saying "Water, please" to get water) and nonvocal-verbal behavior (pointing to a glass of water to get water). Encompasses the subject matter usually treated as language and topics such as thinking, grammar, composition, and understanding.
One of three components of the experimental reasoning, or baseline logic, used in single-subject research designs; accomplished by demonstrating that the prior level of baseline responding would have remained unchanged had the independent variable not been introduced. Verifying the accuracy of the original prediction reduces the probability that some uncontrolled (confounding) variable was responsible for the observed change in behavior.
A systematic approach for interpreting the results of behavioral research and treatment programs that entails visual inspection of graphed data for variability, level, and trend within and between experimental conditions.
A time sampling method for measuring behavior in which the observation period is divided into a series of brief time intervals (typically from 5 to 15 seconds). At the end of each interval, the observer records whether the target behavior occurred throughout the entire interval; tends to underestimate the proportion of the observation period that many behaviors actually occurred.