Few clinical investigations have addressed the problem of delayed reinforcement. In this investigation, three individuals whose destructive behavior was maintained by positive reinforcement were treated using functional communication training (FCT) with extinction (EXT). Next, procedures used in the basic literature on delayed reinforcement and self- control (reinforcer delay fading, punishment of impulsive responding, and provision of an alternative activity during reinforcer delay) were used to teach participants to tolerate delayed reinforcement. With the first case, reinforcer delay fading alone was effective at maintaining low rates of destructive behavior while introducing delayed reinforcement. In the second case, the addition of a punishment component reduced destructive behavior to near-zero levels and facilitated reinforcer delay fading. With the third case, reinforcer delay fading was associated with increases in masturbation and head rolling, but prompting and praising the individual for completing work during the delay interval reduced all problem behaviors and facilitated reinforcer delay fading.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)