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Implementing Extinction and Combining Reinforcement

Implementing Extinction and Combining Reinforcement

Every time Pria engages in self-injurious behaviour, she escapes the demands that she has been given. This undesirable behaviour results in poor learning, poor communication, and compromised well-being. The desirable behaviour, in this case, can be described as great learning, good communication, and improved well-being of Pria. Based on this scenario, the best differential reinforcement to use on Pria is DRA so that desirable behaviour of great learning, good communication, and enhanced well-being can be increased and undesirable behaviour, as described before, can be decreased.

According to Miltenberger (2015), the first step when using DRA differential reinforcement is to record the number of times an individual engages in desirable behaviour as well as undesirable behaviour every day. In this case, it is crucial to record the number of times Pria has learned something useful and the number of times she has effectively communicated and stayed away from self-injurious behaviour in a book. The number of times Pria engages in outbursts of slapping her arms should also be recorded.

The next phase is identifying the reinforcer for Pria’s desirable behaviour (Miltenberger, 2015). In this case, escape from demands is identified as the reinforcer for the outbursts. This can also be used for desirable behaviour of making the demands placed using the DNRA procedure. Although this may appear abnormal, using escape from demands as a reinforcer for engaging in desirable behaviour is also effective in the case of Pria.

After identifying the undesirable and desirable behaviours and the reinforcer, implementing differential reinforcement is required. According to Ruckle et al. (2022), the first phase is providing the reinforcer every time Pria finishes her homework or pronounces words correctly. This may mean allowing Pria to engage in activities she likes, such as playing alone for a few minutes or running in the school compound alone during classes for a few minutes. Pria may be given simple schoolwork to complete and be rewarded with the reinforcer. However, an extinction procedure can be used when she engages in an outburst of arm slapping.

Since escaping her demands, such as learning in school, was reinforcing her outbursts of arm slapping, not letting her escape her demands is another way (Miltenberger, 2015). For example, Pria may be restrained from playing alone or running in the field freely by getting her to sit in her chair even after arm slapping until she calms down. She should then be let to do her work or undertake her demands, such as completing schoolwork. According to Ruckle et al. (2022), completing her schoolwork or any demand results in reinforcement, and having outbursts of arm slapping does not lead to reinforcement.

Fading the reinforcement in the future, once Pria consistently completes her demands and is restrained from undesirable behaviour, the last phase in differential reinforcement is using intermittent reinforcement schedule and programming for generalization. At first, Pria may be given a chance to run freely in the school compound after every demand, such as finishing schoolwork like drawing a table. After she finishes her demands consistently, including difficult and easy demands, and does not engage in outbursts anymore, Pria can be given the reinforcer after every two demands she completes. Eventually, she can be given the reinforcer after three demands she meets, then after four, and then five and six, until the trainer is satisfied that Pria meets her learning, communication, and well-being goals.


Miltenberger, R.G. (2015). Behaviour Modification: Principles and Procedures (6th Edition). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Ruckle, M. M., Bednar, M. K., Suen, K., & Falligant, J. M. (2022). Brief assessment and treatment of pica using differential reinforcement, response interruption and redirection, and competing stimuli. Behavioural Interventions.


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Implementing Extinction and Combining Reinforcement

Read the scenario and choose an appropriate differential reinforcement procedure to implement.

Implementing Extinction and Combining Reinforcement

Implementing Extinction and Combining Reinforcement

Pria engages in self-injurious behaviour in the form of arm slapping about every 10 minutes. Generally, this behaviour occurs after demands are placed. After reviewing the FBA data, you read that the function is hypothesized to be an escape from a demand. Unfortunately, this behaviour occurs frequently and interferes with her learning, communication and well-being.

What differential reinforcement procedure would be appropriate for this scenario? Justify your answer and describe how you plan on reinforcing the behaviour, implementing extinction, and fading the reinforcement in the future.

Watch the Unit 8 Lecture.

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