PSYB45H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Cognitive Therapy, Vocal Folds, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
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Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior
Differential Reinforcement: use reinforcement and
extinction to increase occurrence of a desirable target
behavior or decrease occurrence of undesirable
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior
(DRA): used to increase frequency of a desirable
behavior and decrease frequency of undesirable
behavior. The desirable behavior is reinforced each time
it occurs, while undesired ones are not reinforced to
When to use DRA:
You need to want to increase the desirable behavior
The behavior needs to be already occurring
occasionally. If not, use shaping or prompting to evoke
it, and then use DRA.
You need to have a reinforcer that can be used each
time the desirable behavior occurs. If you have no
control on reinforcer/have no reinforcer, then you
can’t use DRA
1. Define desirable and undesirable behaviors. It
helps to determine whether treatment is successful
2. Identify reinforcer. You must be able to determine
it because they may vary across people. Ways:
Reinforcer can be what reinforces the undesirable
Observing/asking the person (Premack principle:
use high-frequency behavior as a reinforcer for a
Preference Assessment: try a variety of stimuli
and see which ones are reinforces to the person,
and then use reinforcer assessment (to
determine that item is the reinforcer, deliver it
contingent on behavior and show that the
behavior increased). Ways to conduct:
o Single Stimulus assessment: each potential
reinforcer is presented, one at a time to see
which one will be reached. The number of
times the reinforcer has been approached is
recorded, and the one with most is it.
o Paired Stimulus assessment (aka forced
choice): 2 potential reinforcers are presented
and the one that’s reached is recorded.
o Multiple Stimulus Assessment (aka multiple
stimuli without replacement MSWO): several
potential reinforcers presented and the
researcher records which one is approached
first, then second, then third…
Assess reinforcer by making each potential one
contingent on an operant response. If frequency
or duration increases when stimulus is contingent
on response, the stimulus is a reinforcer (e.g.
pressing a button to hear music more than
pressing button to turn fan on, shows that music
is a reinforcer)
3. Reinforce desired behavior immediately and
4. Eliminate reinforcement for desirable behavior
5. Use intermittent reinforcement to maintain the
target behavior (continuous is only early on). This
makes the behavior more resistant to extinction.
6. Program for Generalization. It should be reinforced
in as many relevant situations as possible.
Differential Reinforcement of incompatible behavior
(DRI): alternative behavior is physically incompatible
with problem behavior, so the 2 can’t happen
together. E.G: to prevent the problem behavior of
head-slapping, the researchers can reinforce any other
behavior that needs the hands
Differential Reinforcement of Communication (aka
functional communication training): individual with
problem behavior learns to make communication
responses that are functionally equivalent to problem
behavior. E.G: when a person engages in problem
behavior to get attention, he can instead ask for
attention without engaging in that bad behavior, since
both will produce the same end result.
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior
Differential Reinforcement of other behavior (DRO):
reinforcer is contingent on the absence of the problem
behavior. Although the name suggests that you will
reinforce another behavior, you are actually just
reinforcing the absence of the problem behavior.
1. Identify reinforcer for the problem behavior; you
need to use functional assessments. Like DRA, if
you can’t use extinction for the problem behavior,
you shouldn’t use DRO (exception: if reinforcer for
absence is more powerful than reinforcer for
existence of problem behavior).
2. Identify reinforcer to use in DRO procedure.
3. Choose the initial DRO time interval. As the
frequency of problem behavior decreases, DRO
intervals get lengthened gradually.
4. Eliminate reinforcer for problem behavior and
deliver reinforcer for absence of the problem
5. Reset the interval if the problem behavior occurs.
6. Gradually increase the interval length.
Two types of DRO: whole-interval (whole-behavior
must be absent for the whole interval for the reinforcer
to be delivered; more effective) and momentary
(problem behavior must be absent at the end of the
interval; not effective alone, needs to act with whole-
interval to maintain the behavior).
Differential Reinforcement of Low Responding Rates
Differential reinforcement of low rates of responding
(DRL): reinforcer is delivered contingent on a lower rate
of responding during a period of time.
Variations: full-session DRL (reinforcement is delivered
if fewer than a specified number of responses occurs in
a period of time), spaced-responding DRL (specified
amount of time between responses for the reinforcer to
be delivered), and interval DRL (dividing a session into
intervals and providing the reinforcer if not more than
one response occurred in each interval; similar to
1. Determine whether DRL is appropriate procedure.
Use it if you want to decrease but not eliminate.
2. Determine acceptable level of behavior (how many
responses per session, interval of time between
3. Decide whether to use full-session or spaced (this is
more appropriate if time matters vs. just
decreasing overall rate).
4. Inform client about procedure so that she knows
5. Implement DRL procedure and give instructions as
well as feedback.
Stereotypic behavior (aka self-stimulatory behavior):
repetitive behavior that does not serve any social
function for the person.
Interresponse Time (IRT): time between responses.
Defining Antecedent Control Procedures
Antecedent control procedures: antecedent stimuli are
manipulated to evoke desirable behaviors so that they
can be differentially reinforced, and to decrease
undesirable behaviors that interfere with the desirable
behaviors. They involve manipulating some aspect of
the physical/social world. Competing behaviors are
concurrent operants reinforced on concurrent
schedules of reinforcement (i.e. doing bad in school
because you’d rather party than study). There are 6
different antecedent manipulation procedures, but they
should always be used with differential reinforcement:
Present the SD or cues for the desired behavior (e.g. SD
for eating healthily is having healthy food present).
Arranging Establishing Operations for the Desirable
Behavior. By increasing the reinforcing value of the
consequence of a behavior, you make it more likely to
occur (e.g. buying a healthy cookbook would make it
more likely to eat healthily because your food would
Decreasing Response Effort for the Desirable Behavior.
So, arrange antecedent conditions that require less
effort to engage in the behavior to make it more likely
for that behavior to occur (people are inherently lazy).
Remove discriminative Stimulus for undesirable
behavior (e.g. presence of unhealthy food is a stimulus
for eating unhealthy foods)
Presenting abolishing operations for undesirable
behaviors. This isn’t always possible. For example,
when grocery shopping, you’re more likely to buy junk
foods when you’re hungry than when you’re not. So to
eat healthily, eat before grocery shopping, so your
desire to buy junk food is eliminated.
Increase response effort for undesirable behaviors. If
competing behaviors take more effort, they’re less
likely to interfere with desirable behavior. First you’d
have to remove undesirable behavior then make it
harder to get to again.
Research on Antecedent Control Strategies
Antecedent control strategies can be conducted by
manipulating discriminative stimuli (social or physical
environment), response effort, and manipulating
motivating operations (i.e. eliminating escape by
making tasks less aversive so escape would no longer be
Increase Desirable Behavior
Using Antecedent Control Strategies
Differential reinforcement and extinction are used in
conjunction with these strategies.
1. Identify and define desirable/undesirable behavior
that you want to change (can response effort be
2. Analyze antecedent situations related to the
3. Identify reinforcer for desirable/undesirable behavior
These control strategies, alongside differential
reinforcement and extinction are known as functional
interventions (they’re functional because they decrease
problem behaviors and increase desirable ones by
modifying the A and C). These are non-aversive (since
they don’t depend on punishment). They’re always the
1st step to treatments because the address function of
behavior (consequences) and the antecedents (what
Punishment is implemented only after functional
interventions (differential reinforcement, extinction or
antecedent control) have been tried.
Time-out (from positive reinforcement): being removed
from a reinforcing activity for a few minutes contingent
on the instance of the problem behavior. Types:
Nonexclusionary time-out: can stay in room, but has
to sit across from where the other people who are
participating in the positively reinforcing behavior are;
used when the person can be removed from the
activity without the need of leaving the room, and if
his presence isn’t disruptive.
Exclusionary time-out: taken out of the room, so that
reinforcer is not available.
Time-out should always be used with differential
reinforcement; otherwise the behavior will re-emerge
after the treatment session.
Considerations: (1) what’s the function of the problem
behavior (time-in environment: where the problem
behavior occurs)? It’s not appropriate to use time-out
for negative reinforcement (sensory stimulation or
automatic reinforcement). (2) Is time-out practical
here? So, the change agent may needs to be able to
control the person, and there must be a room (for
exclusionary time-out) without positive reinforcers to
take the people to. The time-out room must be barren
(except from one chair), well-lit, and without locks. (3) Is
the room safe? (4) Is the time-out period brief? Time-
out should be brief, but if the problem behavior
persists, continue with contingent delay (extend the
time period by 10 sec to 1 min). (5) Can escape from
time-out be prevented? If refraining the escape would
not be successful, don’t use time-out, because then it
would be pointless since the escape will negatively
reinforce the aggressive/escaping behavior. (6) Can
interactions be avoided during time-out? Time-out
should be implemented without emotions from the
change agent. (7) Is time-out acceptable here?
Contingent Observation: contingent on the occurrence
of the problem behavior, the child has to sit and watch
the other children play appropriately.
Response Cost: removal of a specified amount of a
reinforcer (usually money or a privilege) contingent on
the occurrence of a problem behavior. It’s a negative
punishment procedure. Differential reinforcement
should also be used in conjunction.
The processes used to decrease problem behaviors are:
extinction, time-out and response cost. With extinction,
problem behavior is not followed by a reinforcing event
that had maintained the behavior before. With time-
out, the person is removed from access to sources of
reinforcement when problem behavior occurs. With
response cost, a reinforcer is removed (by quantity)
after problem behavior.
Considerations: (1) Which reinforcer will be removed?
(2) Is the reinforcer loss immediate or delayed?
Reinforcers can be delayed and would still be effective
only if you present a verbal statement that they will lose
the reinforcer soon. Delays are usually not appropriate
for people with intellectual disabilities. (3) Is the loss of
reinforcers ethical? (4) Is response cost practical and
Application of Aversive Activities
Punishment through application of aversive activities:
contingent on the problem behavior, a person will be
made to engage in an aversive activity)low-probability
behavior the person would not choose to engage in).
This follows the Premack principle that when high-
probability behavior is followed by low-probability ones,
Differential reinforcement: use reinforcement and extinction to increase occurrence of a desirable target behavior or decrease occurrence of undesirable behavior. Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (dra): used to increase frequency of a desirable behavior and decrease frequency of undesirable behavior. The desirable behavior is reinforced each time it occurs, while undesired ones are not reinforced to decrease them. You need to want to increase the desirable behavior. The behavior needs to be already occurring occasionally. If not, use shaping or prompting to evoke it, and then use dra. You need to have a reinforcer that can be used each time the desirable behavior occurs. If you have no control on reinforcer/have no reinforcer, then you can"t use dra. It helps to determine whether treatment is successful: identify reinforcer. You must be able to determine it because they may vary across people. Reinforcer can be what reinforces the undesirable behavior.