Noncontingent reinforcement and competing stimuli in the treatment of pseudoseizures and destructive behaviors

Iser G. DeLeon, Michelle Uy, Katharine Gutshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individuals diagnosed with epilepsy have sometimes also been observed to display 'pseudoseizures', or clinical events that mimic those observed during epileptic seizures, but are not associated with abnormal cortical electrical discharges. Several investigators have hypothesized that pseudoseizures, in some proportion of those individuals that display them, may be maintained through operant contingencies. In the present study, this sort of hypothesis was tested in a 10-year-old boy with severe mental retardation and a seizure disorder. Informal observations, and later, response-reinforcer contingencies, revealed that the pseudoseizures, as well as other destructive behaviors, occurred at high rates when they resulted in attention from caregivers. Subsequently, a treatment package consisting of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) and competing stimuli was used to decrease levels of seizure-like activity and other problem behaviors. This study adds to the literature that suggests that seizure-like activity may come under operant control and extends the use of NCR and competing stimuli to a novel target behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Interventions
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2005

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Epilepsy
Seizures
Intellectual Disability
Caregivers
Therapeutics
Research Personnel
Reinforcement (Psychology)
Stimulus
Reinforcement
Contingency
Problem Behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Noncontingent reinforcement and competing stimuli in the treatment of pseudoseizures and destructive behaviors. / DeLeon, Iser G.; Uy, Michelle; Gutshall, Katharine.

In: Behavioral Interventions, Vol. 20, No. 3, 07.2005, p. 203-217.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DeLeon, Iser G. ; Uy, Michelle ; Gutshall, Katharine. / Noncontingent reinforcement and competing stimuli in the treatment of pseudoseizures and destructive behaviors. In: Behavioral Interventions. 2005 ; Vol. 20, No. 3. pp. 203-217.
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