Effects of continuous and intermittent reinforcement for problem behavior during functional communication training

April S. Worsdell, Brian A. Iwata, Gregory P. Hanley, Rachel H. Thompson, Sung Woo Kahng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We evaluated the effectiveness of functional communication training (FCT) in reducing problem behavior and in strengthening alternative behavior when FCT was implemented without extinction. Following the completion of functional analyses in which social-positive reinforcement was identified as the maintaining variable for 5 participants' self-injurious behavior (SIB) and aggression, the participants were first exposed to FCT in which both problem behavior and alternative behavior were reinforced continuously (i.e., on fixed-ratio [FR] 1 schedules). During subsequent FCT conditions, the schedule of reinforcement for problem behavior was made more intermittent (e.g., FR 2, FR 3, FR 5, etc.), whereas alternative behavior was always reinforced according to an FR 1 schedule. Results showed that 1 participant's problem behavior decreased and alternative behavior increased during FCT when both behaviors were reinforced on FR 1 schedules. The remaining 4 participants shifted response allocation from problem to alternative behavior as the schedule of reinforcement for problem behavior became more intermittent. These results suggest that individuals might acquire alternative responses during FCT in spite of inconsistencies in the application of extinction, although even small errors in reinforcement may compromise treatment effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Extinction
  • Functional analysis
  • Functional communication training
  • Intermittent reinforcement
  • Self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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