Chapter 10 – Prompting and Transfer of Stimulus Control
What is Prompting?
Prompting: Prompts are used to increase the likelihood that a person will engage in the
correct behaviour at the correct time. They are used during discrimination training to
help the person engage in the correct behaviour in the presence of the discriminative
stimulus (S ).
If the correct behaiour is not occurring, the behaviour cannot be reinforced. The
function of prompts is to produce an instance of the correct behaviour so that it
can be reinforced.
The use of prompts makes teaching/training more efficient.
What is Fading?
Fading: the gradual elimination of the prompt as the behaviour continues to occur in the
presence of the S . Fading is one way to transfer stimulus control from the prompts to
the S .
Engaging in the correct behaviour without prompts is the goal of prompting and fading.
The S must have stimulus control over the behaviour. Prompting/fading help establish
appropriate stimulus control.
Prompting gets the correct behaviour to occur D
Fading transfers stimulus control to the natural S
Example with flashcards:
Teacher uses flash cards to help teach a student English. The flash card has a word on
it for the student to read out. The written word on the card is the S , the correct
response is reading the word out loud by the student. The teacher originally reads out
the word (verbal/modelling prompt). The teacher then begins fading out the verbal
prompts on the second round of the flashcards. If the student doesn’t read it out, the
teacher verbally prompts again with the word. Eventually, the teacher will only prompt
with the first letter of the word and will fade that until the student can read on their own.
Types of Prompts
Response prompt: tDe behaviour of another person evokes the desired response in the
presence of the S . Includes verbal, gestural, modelling, and physical prompts. Verbal prompts
It is a verbal prompt when you say something that helps the other person engage in the
This can include instructions, rules, hints, reminders, questions, etc.
Example: when student is learning to read, teacher shows flashcard and reads
out the word on the card.
Any physical movement or gesture of another person that leads to the correct behaviour
in the presence of the S .
However, if person demonstrates the entire behaviour, this is modelling.
Example: the teacher shows a student the card with the word ‘exit’ written on it
and points to the ‘exit’ sign at the same time in order to help make a distinction.
A person observes the model and imitates the modelled behaviour (makes the correct
response) in the presence of the S .
For a modelling prompt to be successful, the person must be able to imitate the model’s
Example: Coach hits ball in order to show player how to properly do so
Physical prompts are appropriate when telling or showing the behaviour is ineffective.
Unless the person resists, most behaviours can be physically prompted – language is
Also known as physical guidance.
Example: Art teacher guides student’s hand to show how to mold clay
Levels of Intrusiveness (low to high)
Gestural (Moderately low)
Modelling (Moderately high)
Physical (Most) Stimulus Prompts
Def.: Involves some change in a stimulus, or the addition or removal of a stimulus, to
make a correct response more likely.
D ∆ D
Might involve a change in the S or the S so that the S is more noticeable and
the S less noticeable so that the person is more likely to respond to the S –
making the correct distinction.
Def.: Changing the S D
You can change the position of the SD or you can change some dimension of the S or