Date of Award

8-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rindahl, Joel

Abstract

This study evaluated the effects differential reinforcement of alternative behavior on response persistence. A total of four participants from a local 2nd grade classroom participated in this study. A two component multiple schedule that included baseline (i.e., reinforcement of a target response) and DRA (i.e., reinforcement of an alternative response and reinforcement of the target response) conditions was conducted. Attempts were made to keep rates of reinforcement as similar as possible across components. Extinction was then implemented in the context associated with each component, and response persistence was measured. Results indicated three distinct patterns of responding: 1) alternative behavior was never emitted during the DRA component (two participants), 2) only the alternative behavior was emitted during the DRA component (one participant), and 3) both the target and the alternative behaviors were emitted during the DRA component (one participant). Overall, the results of this study indicated that DRA could result in inadvertent strengthening of target behavior. However, that strengthening may be mitigated if reinforcer rates are similar.

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