•You cannot assume that a particular reinforcer is maintaining a problem behavior.
•The same problem exhibited by different people may be maintained by different
•For example, one child’s aggressive behavior might be reinforced by the parent’s
attentions, whereas another child’s aggressive behavior might be reinforced by getting
toys from siblings.
•Sometimes, the same behavior exhibited by a particular person in different situations
might be maintained by different reinforcers.
•For example, a young child cries when she has trouble tying her shoes and the crying is
reinforced when the parents help tie her shoes. This same child might cry when the
parents make a request and the crying is reinforced when the parents allow her to escape
from the task that was requested.
3. Eliminating the Reinforcer after Each Instance of The Problem Behavior
•Have you Indentified the Reinforcer?
oFailure to eliminate the particular stimulus event that functions as the reinforcer for
the problem behavior is failure to implement the extinction procedure correctly.
oThe extinction procedure may be different depending on the reinforcer that is
maintaining the problem behavior (social positive reinforcement, social negative
reinforcement, automatic positive reinforcement, or automatic negative
oFor example, when Iwata and his colleagues worked with three children with
developmental disabilities who engaged in self-injurious beahvior (SIB), they found
that the reinforcer for SIB was different for each child.
•Can You Eliminate the Reinforcer?
oYou must determine whether the change agent (parent, teacher, staff member etc)
can control the reinforcer.
oIf the change agent has no control over the reinforcer, extinction cannot be
oFor example, a teenager plays her stereo so loudly that it disturbs the rest of the
family. The reinforcer for this behavior is the loud music.