College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Effects of Reinforcer Quality on Behavioral Momentum: Coordinated Applied and Basic Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 1997

Keywords

Behavioral Momentum; Compliance; High-P Treatment; Integrated Basic-Applied Research; Noncompliance; Reinforcer Quality; Resistance To Change

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

30

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

The high-probability (high-p) instructional sequence has been an effective treatment for noncompliance. However, treatment failures have also been reported. We hypothesized that the efficacy of the high-p treatment may be improved by using higher quality reinforcers for compliance to high-p instructions. The resistance of compliance to change was tested by varying reinforcer quality in two applied studies and a basic laboratory experiment. Experiment 1 tested the hypothesis that an increase in reinforcer quality for high-p compliance will increase the effectiveness of the high-p treatment when it fails to increase compliance. Experiment 2 assessed the effects of reinforcer quality on resistance of compliance to change by presenting successive low-p requests following the high-p treatment. A basic laboratory study (Experiment 3) was conducted to further isolate the relation between reinforcer quality and behavioral momentum. Two different liquid reinforcers (sucrose and citric acid solutions) were presented in a two-component multiple variable-interval variable-interval schedule followed by a single extinction test session. Results of all three experiments showed a generally consistent relationship between reinforcer quality and behavioral momentum.

DOI

10.1901/jaba.1997.30-1

Peer Reviewed

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