Read the following chapters in your Applied Behavior Analysis text:
- Chapter 11: “Positive Reinforcement” (pp. 256–269)
- Chapter 12: “Negative Reinforcement”
- Chapter 13: “Schedules of Reinforcement” (pp. 304–312)
- Chapter 14: “Punishment by Stimulus Presentation” (pp. 326–330)
- Chapter 21: “Extinction” (pp. 356–361)
Read the following chapter in your Ethics for Behavior Analysts text:
- Chapter 9: “The Behavior Analyst and the Individual Behavior Change Program” (pp. 123–125, Guidelines 4.08 and 4.010)
All are provided as attachments
Discussions are fundamental to shared learning, so please be sure to participate early and often! After you have completed the Reading, and without reviewing your classmates’ responses, post your initial response to the following Discussion. Your post should be at least 300 words in length, should extend the discussion of the group, and should be supported by your course materials and/or other appropriate resources. After you have submitted your initial post, review some of your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of your classmates; your responses to others should be at least 100 words in length and substantive. Refer to your Discussion Board rubric in Course Resources for a specific explanation of grading.
Identify Maintaining Consequences
Scenario: You are a BCBA in private practice. You received a referral from a parent who is requesting your services to address tantrums and physically aggressive behavior displayed by her 8-year-old son. The child has two younger twin siblings in the home who are often the targets of physically aggressive behavior. In an initial interview, the mother reports that tantrums consist of screaming, throwing objects, kicking objects over, and stomping his feet when he does not “get his way” or have her undivided attention. She also stated that these behaviors occur when she asks him to do things that he does not want to do. Mother says that sometimes she ignores the tantrums and they stop, but other times, she gets so frustrated that she “gives him what he wants.” When asked about previous interventions tried, the mother stated that she has used spankings, time-outs, and taking items away. Mother says that she has tried to “make deals” with the child by promising to take him out for preferred activities at the end of the week, but he never makes it to the end without losing the privilege. She is looking for answers regarding why all of her methods of addressing the problem are ineffective and for some strategies that can be used. You developed an in-home token economy in which the client is rewarded with tokens for displaying appropriate alternatives to tantrums and physical aggression. Your system has provisions for earning tokens that can be exchanged for daily and weekly rewards and losing tokens as a penalty for inappropriate behavior (response cost).
Answer the following questions based on your Unit 2 readings:
- Define positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Discuss how each of these concepts applies to the scenario in terms of how they contribute to ongoing behavioral problems. How might the mother be confusing punishment with negative reinforcement in the scenario?
- Define the variable ratio (VR) schedule of reinforcement and explain how this schedule of reinforcement is related to her inconsistency with ignoring tantrums. What is the effect of VR on tantrum behavior?
- Why do you think that the mother’s attempt to provide positive reinforcement at the end of the week was unsuccessful, based on what you know about immediacy?
- What are some of the potentially unwanted effects of reinforcement and punishment related to your intervention? What are some ethical considerations that should be taken into account as they pertain to the use of reinforcement and punishment in the scenario?