Effects of noncontingent reinforcement on problem behavior and stimulus engagement: The role of satiation, extinction, and alternative reinforcement

Louis P. Hagopian, Jennifer L. Crockett, Maureen Van Stone, Iser G. DeLeon, Lynn G. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) with and without extinction on problem behavior and stimulus engagement (consumption of reinforcement) of 4 participants. Reductions in problem behavior using NCR have frequently been attributed to both satiation of the reinforcer and extinction. In the current study, aspects of the NCR treatment effects were difficult to explain based solely on either a satiation or an extinction account. Specifically, it was found that stimulus engagement remained high throughout the NCR treatment analysis, and that problem behavior was reduced to near-zero levels during NCR without extinction. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to the satiation and extinction hypotheses frequently described in the applied literature. Findings from basic studies examining the effects of response-independent schedules are presented, and are used as the basis for a matching theory account of NCR-related effects. It is proposed that reductions in problem behavior observed during NCR interventions may be a function of the availability of alternative sources of reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-449
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Alternative reinforcement
  • Extinction
  • Matching theory
  • Noncontingent reinforcement
  • Problem behavior
  • Satiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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