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Chapter 15

Chapter 15 Notes

8 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 15: Differential Reinforcement
This chapter describes differential reinforcement procedures which involve applying
reinforcement and extinction to increase the occurrence of a desirable target behavior or to
decrease the occurrence of undesirable behaviors.
There are three types of differential reinforcement procedures: differential reinforcement of
alternative behavior (DRA), differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), and differential
reinforcement of low rates of responding (DRL).
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior
Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is a behavioral procedure used to
increase the frequency of a desirable behavior (reinforcement) and to decrease the frequency of
undesirable behaviors (extinction).
The desirable behavior is reinforced each time it occurs. This results in an increase in the future
probability of the desirable behavior.
Any undesirable behaviors that may interfere with the desirable behavior are not reinforced.
This results in a decreases in the future probability of the undesirable behaviors.
An Example Using DRA.
Mrs. Williams lives in a nursing home and whenever she saw a nurse she would start to complain
about the food, her room, other patients etc.
The nurse always listened politely and tried to comfort Mrs. Williams, it seemed her complaining
was getting worse.
Antecedent: A nurse is present Response: Mrs. William complains Consequence: A
nurse provides attention.
Outcome: Mrs. Williams is likely to complain each time a nurse is present.
The psychologist decided that the nurses should increase their attention when Mrs. Williams said
positive things to reinforce these behaviors. (Reinforcement)
Antecedent: A nurse is present Response: Mrs. Williams say positive things 
Consequence: Nurse provides attention
Outcome: In the future, Mrs. William is more likely to say positive things when a nurse is
present.
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Using extinction by not providing attention when Mrs. William complains to stop the problem
behavior
Antecedent: A nurse is present Response: Mrs. Williams complains Consequence: Nurse
does not provide attention.
Outcome: In the future, Mrs. Williams is less likely to complain to nurses.
DRA is a procedure for strengthening a desirable behavior.
The desirable behavior must be occurring at least occasionally if you are to reinforce it.
However, if procedures such as shaping or prompting are used to initially evoke the behavior,
DRA may then be used to strengthen and maintain the behavior.
You must be able to identify a reinforcer that you can use each time the behavior occurs.
How to Use DRA
1. Define the Desirable Behavior
oA clear behavioral definition helps ensure that you are reinforcing the correct
behvaior.
2. Define the Undesirable Behaviors
oA clear behavioral definition helps ensure that you are not using reinforcement
when the undesirable behavior occurs.
3. Identify the Reinforcer
oObserve the client and identify the reinforcer for the problem behavior. That
reinforcer could be used to increase more appropriate behaviors.
oObserve the client and identify high-rate behaviors (i.e playing video games and
using them as reinforcers for completing homework)
oAsk the client, parents, or teachers.
oUse reinforcer questionnaires.
oPresent potential reinforcers and measure approach behaviors. For example,
when a snack is presented, does the child reach for it or try to eat it? These
approach responses would indicate that the food was a reinforcer for this child.
oPresent potential reinforcers contingent on an operant response and measure
response rate or duration. For example Wacker had students press a switch to
activate different electric games or instruments. If a student pressed the switch
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that turned on the music for much longer than other switches, the researcher
could conclude the music was a reinforcer for the student.
4. Reinforce the Desirable Behavior Immediately and Consistently
5. Eliminate Reinforcement for the Undesirable Behaviors.
oIf the reinforcer for undesirable behaviors cannot be eliminated completely it at
least must be minimized so that the contrast between the reinforcement of the
desirable and undesirable behaviors is maximized.
oFor example, the nurses may not be able to eliminate all attention to Mrs.
Williams when she complains. However, their attention to complaints will be
minimal where as their attention to her positive talk will be enthusiastic and
extended in durations.
6. Use intermittent reinforcement to maintain the target behavior.
oContinuous reinforcement for the desirable behavior is used in the early stages of
DRA
7. Program for Generalization
oThe target behavior should occur outside the training situation in all relevant
stimulus situations.
Using Differential Negative Reinforcement of Alternative Behaviors
Antecedent: Teacher asks Jason to do his work Response: Jason slams the desk and rocks
back and forth Consequence: Jason escapes from his school work and sits by himself.
Outcome: Jason is more likely to engage in problem behavior when his teacher asks him to do
his school work.
Desirable behavior: completing school work
Undesirable behavior: Slamming the desk and rocking back and forth
Reinforcer for the undesirable behavior is escaping from school work.
Psychologist used the same reinforcer for the desirable behavior by allowing Jason to get up and
sit in the chair in the back of the room by himself after he completes a few workbook problems.
The teacher used extinction with Jason’s outbursts by not letting him escape from his
schoolwork: he could not get out of his seat and sit in the back of the room.
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Description
Chapter 15: Differential Reinforcement This chapter describes differential reinforcement procedures which involve applying reinforcement and extinction to increase the occurrence of a desirable target behavior or to decrease the occurrence of undesirable behaviors. There are three types of differential reinforcement procedures: differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA), differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), and differential reinforcement of low rates of responding (DRL). Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is a behavioral procedure used to increase the frequency of a desirable behavior (reinforcement) and to decrease the frequency of undesirable behaviors (extinction). The desirable behavior is reinforced each time it occurs. This results in an increase in the future probability of the desirable behavior. Any undesirable behaviors that may interfere with the desirable behavior are not reinforced. This results in a decreases in the future probability of the undesirable behaviors. An Example Using DRA. Mrs. Williams lives in a nursing home and whenever she saw a nurse she would start to complain about the food, her room, other patients etc. The nurse always listened politely and tried to comfort Mrs. Williams, it seemed her complaining was getting worse. Antecedent: A nurse is present Response: Mrs. William complains Consequence: A nurse provides attention. Outcome: Mrs. Williams is likely to complain each time a nurse is present. The psychologist decided that the nurses should increase their attention when Mrs. Williams said positive things to reinforce these behaviors. (Reinforcement) Antecedent: A nurse is present Response: Mrs. Williams say positive things Consequence: Nurse provides attention Outcome: In the future, Mrs. William is more likely to say positive things when a nurse is present. www.notesolution.com
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