Chapter 22

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24 Apr 2012

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Chapter 22: The Token Economy
a BM program in which conditioned reinforcers are used systematically to strengthen the desirable behaviours of
individuals participating in educational or treatment programs.
point gain = reinforcement procedure
point loss = response cost procedure (negative punishment)
Defining Token Economy
strengthen clients’ desirable behaviour that occur too infrequently
decrease their undesirable behaviours in a structured treatment environment/educational setting
something delivered to a person immediately after a desirable behaviour
accumulated by the person
later exchanged for backup reinforcers
chosen b/c they are knjown to be powerful reinforcers for the clients in the treatment environment
b/c it’s paired with other reinforcers, it becomes a conditioned reinforcer that strengthens the desirable
behaviour it follows
oEssential components of token economy:
the desirable TBs to be strengthened
the token to be used as conditioned reinforcers
the backup reinforcers to be exchanged for the tokens
a reinforcement schedule for token delivery
the rate at which token are exchanged for the backup reinforcers
a time and place for exchanging tokens for backup reinforcers
optional: a response cost component
in which the undesirable TBs to be eliminated are identified, together with the rate of token loss for
each instance of these behaviours
Implementing a Token Economy
oDefining the TBs
identify and define the desirable behaviours to be reinforced
nature will vary depending on the ppl and the treatment environment
main criterion = they are socially significant or meaningful for the ppl involved in the progam
make definitions clear, specific, and objective
ensure clients know what behaviours are expected, and that change agents can record and implement
oIdentifying the Items to Use as Tokens
must be something tangible that can be delivered immediately
must be practical and convenient for the change agent to carry and disperse in the environment the
behaviours occur
in a form that clients can accumulate and in most cases carry with them
some cases, clients can accumulate but not keep them in their possession
oie. checkmarks on the wall, poker chips in a container
should not be available from any source other than the change agent
make sure clients don’t steal tokens from one another or from change agents
ie. counterfeiting tokens, acquiring tokens from other sources within/outside the program
oIdentifying Backup Reinforcers
tokens acquire their effectiveness as conditioned reinforcers b/c they are paired with the backup
therefore the effectiveness of a token economy depends on the backup reinforcers
backupreinforcers must be chosen specifically for the ppl in the treatment program
may include
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