FRHD 3150 Study Guide - Final Guide: Weaning, Applied Psychology, Token Economy

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Chapter 25
Token Economics
Recall Erin example – she wanted to be nicer to her friends
gave herself a point on the card each time that she said something nice to a friend.
she allowed herself to cash in her points with time on Facebook
more points = more time on Fb
Erin’s points were called tokens
- conditioned reinforcers that can be accumulated and exchanged for goods and services
token economy
- a behavioral program in which
- individuals can earn tokens for a variety of desirable behaviors
- can exchange the earned tokens for backup reinforcers
modern society is a token economy
- get money
- exchange it for items such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation
- smaller token system
- where people purchase subway tokens - exchange for access to public transit
ALSO used as educational and therapeutic tools
- in B.M programs
“Token economies are among the oldest and most successful programs in all of applied psychology.”
Two major advantages
1
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- can be given immediately after a desirable behavior occurs
- and cashed in at a later time for backup reinforcers
- used to “bridge” long delays between target response  backup R
2
- tokens that are paired with many different backup reinforcers
- (generalized conditioned reinforcers)
- therefore do not depend on a specific motivating operation for their strength
- makes it easier to administer effective reinforcers when dealing with a group of individuals
- who might be in different motivational states
Steps for Setting Up and Managing a Token Economy
1. Decide on the target behaviours
- target behaviors are determined largely by
(a) the type of individuals involved
(b) the short- and long range objectives to be accomplished
(c) specific behavioral problems that interfere with achieving those objectives.
Example:
- teacher
- target behaviors for students might include specific aspects of reading, writing, constructive
social interaction
- target behaviors must be clearly defined so that the students know what behaviors are expected
- so that you can reinforce those behaviors reliably when they occur
2. Take Baselines and Keep Data
- baseline data should be obtained before initiating a token economy
- It might be that your group is already performing at a satisfactory level and that the potential
benefits to be gained from setting up a token economy do not justify the time, effort, or cost involved in
doing so
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