Effects of reinforcer quality on behavioral momentum: coordinated applied and basic research.

  • Mace F
  • Mauro B
  • Boyajian A
 et al. 
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The high-probability (high-p) instructional sequence has been an effective treatment for noncompliance. However, treatment failures have also been reported. We hypothesized that the efficacy of the high-p treatment may be improved by using higher quality reinforcers for compliance to high-p instructions. The resistance of compliance to change was tested by varying reinforcer quality in two applied studies and a basic laboratory experiment. Experiment 1 tested the hypothesis that an increase in reinforcer quality for high-p compliance will increase the effectiveness of the high-p treatment when it fails to increase compliance. Experiment 2 assessed the effects of reinforcer quality on resistance of compliance to change by presenting successive low-p requests following the high-p treatment. A basic laboratory study (Experiment 3) was conducted to further isolate the relation between reinforcer quality and behavioral momentum. Two different liquid reinforcers (sucrose and citric acid solutions) were presented in a two-component multiple variable-interval variable-interval schedule followed by a single extinction test session. Results of all three experiments showed a generally consistent relationship between reinforcer quality and behavioral momentum.

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  • F C Mace

  • B C Mauro

  • A E Boyajian

  • T L Eckert

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