Chapter 19: Promoting Generalization
• Programming for generalization increases the likelihood that the behaviour change will occur in
all relevant situations or circumstances in the persons life.
• Generalization: occurrence of the behaviour in the presence of stimuli that are similar in some
way to the S that was present during training. That is, a class of similar stimuli develops stimulus
control over the behaviour.
• Strategies for Promoting Generalization of Behaviour Change
o Reinforcing instances of generalization:
Reinforce the behaviour when generalization occurs; reinforce in the presence of
Reinforce the behaviour when it occurs outside the training situation on the
presence of relevant stimuli. Relevant stimuli develop stimulus control over the
o Training skills that contact natural contingencies of reinforcement:
If you can’t provide reinforcement for the behaviour in relevant situations outside
the training situation, its important for natural reinforcers to be present.
Example: deciding what leisure skills to teach to young adults with disabilities
who will be graduating from high school and living in apartments or group
homes, its important to teach preferred leisure activities that will be available to
them in their communities.
In this way the client s will have the opportunity to engage in the activities that
are reinforcing to them.
o Modifying natural contingencies of reinforcement and punishment:
Desirable behaviours will occur in relevant situations outside the training
situation if the behaviour is reinforced in those situations.
When the trainer is not able to reinforce occurrences of generalization and there
are no existing natural contingencies of reinforcement, generalization may be
promoted by modifying the contingencies of reinforcement in the relevant
o Incorporating a wide range of relevant stimulus situati