College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Assessment of Stimulus Generalization Gradients in the Treatment of Self-Injury

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 1998

Keywords

Noncontingent Reinforcement; Self-Injury; Stimulus Generalization Gradients

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

31

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Descriptive and experimental analyses suggested that the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of a 10-year-old girl with severe mental retardation was maintained by attention. Additional analyses identified physical contact as the type of attention maintaining SIB; therefore, we hypothesized that physical proximity of an adult was a discriminative stimulus for SIB. Based on these findings, we systematically varied the distance between the participant and a therapist to assess stimulus generalization. Results showed that rates of SIB varied relative to the distance between the participant and therapist; the highest percentage of SIB occurred with the therapist positioned less than 0.5 m from the participant. Treatment consisted of placing the therapist at a specified distance (9.0 m) from the participant (during low-attention situations), noncontingent reinforcement, and extinction.

DOI

10.1901/jaba.1998.31-479

Peer Reviewed

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