PSYB45H3 Lecture Notes - Kens, Reci, Intellectual Disability
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Chapter 22: The token Economy
•Involves the systematic use of conditioned reinforcers called tokens
•May be used with response cost to decrease undesirable behaviors as well
•Token economy: used with adolescents in a residential treatment program.
•Purpose is to strengthen clients desirable behaviours that occur too infrequently and to decrease
their undesirable behaviours in a structured treatment environment or educational setting.
•Token is a point received by the adolescents for desirable behaviour.
•Token is delivered immediately after a desirable behaviour and is later exchanged for backup
•Token is paired with other reinforcers, it becomes a conditioned reinforcer that strengthens the
desirable behaviour it follows. Token + other reinforcers = conditioned reinforcers.
•Conditioned Reinforcers :
oNot originally reinforcing but becomes reinforcer after being paired with other reinforcers
•Components of Token economy:
oDesirable target behaviours to be strengthened
oTokens to be used as conditioned reinforcers
oBackup reinforcers to be exchanged for the tokens
Limiting access to backup reinforcers increases their reinforcing value because a
relative state of deprivation is established.
oReinforcement schedule for token delivery
A continuous schedule of reinforcement is used early in a token economy and a
intermittent (fixed or variable ratio) schedule used later in the program after the
target behaviours are occurring consistently.
oRate at which token are exchanged for the backup reinforcers
oTime and place for exchanging tokens for backup reinforcers
oIn some cases, a response cost component, in which the undesirable target behaviours to
be eliminated are identified, together with the rate of token loss for each instance of these
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