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Chapter 14
Applying Extinction
Using Extinction to Decrease a Problem Behavior
Extinction is one the first approaches that should be considered for
treating a problem behavior
As long as a problem behavior continues, there must be a reinforcing
consequence contingent on the behavior that is maintaining it;
therefore to decrease the behavior, you must identify the reinforcing
consequence and eliminate it
When the problem behavior is longer reinforced, it will extinguish
Steps in using extinction procedures effectively:
(1) Collecting data to assess treatment effects
oObservation and recording of target behavior
oRecord the problem behavior before and after the use of the
extinction procedure to determine whether the behavior
decreased when extinction was implemented
oNeed a behavioral definition of the problem behavior to be
decreased, a reliable data collection method, a baseline
assessment to determine the level of the problem behavior
before the use of extinction, data collection in all relevant
settings after treatment to determine whether the behavior
decreased and whether generalization occurred, and continued
data collection over time to assess the maintenance of behavior
change
(2) Identifying the reinforcer for the problem behavior through
functional assessment
oIdentify the antecedents and consequences of the problem
behavior
oIdentify the specific reinforcer for the problem behavior so that
you can eliminate it in an extinction procedure
oYou cannot assume that a particular reinforcer is maintaining a
problem behavior the same problem behavior exhibited by
different people may be maintained by different reinforcers
oSometimes, the same behavior exhibited by a particular person
in different situations might be maintained by different
reinforcers
oProblem behaviors may be maintained by positive reinforcement
or negative reinforcement and may be social or automatic
(3) Eliminating the reinforcer after each instance of the problem
behavior
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