Study and review
A token economy is a complex system of consequences that is usually applied to change a wide range of
behaviors in groups of people
Token economies used mainly in organizational and institutional settings
Setting up a token economy involves choosing the tokens and the backup reinforcers and punishers to
It entails assigning staff to administer consequences as well as deciding the number of tokens a behavior
will earn, the exchange availability and rates for reinforcers, and whether individual or group
contingencies will be used.
Phasing out a token economy can promote the maintenance of the improved behavior by using
methods that thin and delay reinforcement and assuring that antecedents and consequences in the
target person’s everyday life will encourage the improved behavior
Achievement Place: A residential token economy in which ‘teaching parents’ supervised the behavior of
pre-delinquent juveniles using an approach called the teaching family model.
It features a gradual transition toward self regulation by requiring the teenagers to progress through
three levels: the daily point system, the weekly point system, and the merit system.
Because improved behaviors are often not maintained after people leave the program, it may be
necessary to continue the program in some form to prevent relapses.
The token economy approach
Token economy: Method that uses a complex system of consequences and typically applied with groups
of individuals for a wide range of target behaviors.
Token economy vs token system:
1. Try to change behaviors of groups of individuals; rather than just one person
2. Attempt to change relatively wide ranges of target behaviors
3. Use relatively complex systems of consequences for those behaviors
Usual settings for token economies: Organizational or institutional settings
Whats needed to start a token economy: 1. Many complex tasks completed in advance
2. Decide on target behaviors the intervention will try to bring
3. Define target behavior in detail so it can be determined reliably when they occur
4. Functional assessments conducted to determine the antecedents and consequences
5. Staff members need to be recruited
6. Staff must receive training in:
a. Identifying target behaviors
b. Methods to reduce antecedents and consequences
c. Recording data
d. Administering token reinforcers
7. Staff must collect baseline data
Setting up and implementing a token economy
Tokens and backup consequences: Tokens function as money – mediums of exchange for rewards and