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A single instance of behavior (the measurable unit of analysis in the science of behavior) 


Behavior vs. Response

Behavior: Larger set/class of responses that share physical dimensions or functions 


Response: a single instance of behavior 


Response Class

  • A group of behaviors that compromise an operant (i.e. have the same function) 
  • OPERANT: response-consequence relationship. Similar behaviors that are strenthened or weakened collectively as a result of operant conditioning 
  • Members of the same response class may have varying forms (how to open a bag of chips), whereas topographical variations among members of other response classes are limited (your signature). 



  1. All the behaviors that an individual can do 
  2. A collection of kowledge and skills an individual has learned that are relevant to a particular task 



A comple, dynamic universe of events that differs from instance to instance. All behavior occurs within an environmental context. 



  • Physical events that affect the behavior of an individual 
  • may be internal or external to the individual 
  • A stimulus is an energy change that affects an organism through its receptor cells. 
  • May occur prinor to, during, or after a behavior (temporal locus of stimuli) 
  • May be described formally (phyiscal features), temporally, or functionally 


3 Types of Nervous Systems 


  1. Proprioceptive- stimulation from joints, tendons, muscles, etc, necessary for posture, balance, and movement (Ex. feeling dizzy after getting off a roller coaster) 
  2. Interoceptive- stimulation from organs (Ex. headache, hunger pains) 
  3. Exteroceptive- the 5 senses (Ex. smelling smoke)


Stimulus Class

  • .A group of antecedent stimuli that has a comment affect on an operant class 
  • Group members of a stimulus class tend to evoke or abate the same behavior or response class
  • May vary across physical dimensions 


3 + 2 Types of Stimulus Classes

FTF: For the Fun 

  1. FORMAL- physical features (topography)- size, color, spatial relations (prepositions), intensity, weight
  2. TEMPORAL- Stimulus changes that exist or occur prior to (antecedents) the behavior of interest and stimulus changes that follow (consequences) the behaviors 
  3. FUNCTIONAL- the effect of the stimulus on behavior--there can be mulitple functions (Ex. hearing a buzz may mean a text message or your laptop battery is low) 


  • share common topographies 
  • common relative relations (spatial arrangements) 
  • INFINITE number of stimuli 
  • Developed through stimulus generalization 
  • Ex: dog, house tree, bigger than, on top


  • stimuli may evoke the same response but they do NOT share any common features 
  • LIMITED number of stimuli 
  • Developed through stimulus equivalence
  • Ex: 0.5, 1/2, half, and 50% 
  • Ex: fruits, vegetables, houses 



  • only affect future behavior 
  • Consequences select response classes, not individual responses 
    • they select any behavior--the timing of reinforcement and punishment matters and it can hit any behavior (e.g. superstitious behavior
  • Immediate consequences that the greatest effect 


Automaticity of Reinforcement and Punishment 

  • operant conditioning occurs automtically 
  • the person does not have to know what a consequence means for it to work 


Automatic Reinforcement 

(Sensory; Self-Stimulatory Behaviors; Stereotypy)

  • Reinforcement occurs independent of the social emdiation of others--others do not deliver the consequence 


Example of Negative Automatic Reinforcement 

Putting lotion on your dry skin relieves the dryness. In the future, when you have dry skin, you will put lotion on to escape that dryness. 


Example of Positive Automatic Reinforcement 

You taste salty caramel brownies for the first time and now you bake them all the time at home. 


Automatic Punishment 

  • Punishment that occurs independent of the social mediation of others--others do not deliver the consequenxe 


Example of Negative Automatic Punishment 

You want to reduce cursing, so every time you curse, you have to put money in a jar. In the future, you are less likely to curse because you don't want to lose money. 


Example of Positive Automatic Reinforcement 

You wear a rubber band around your wrist and smack yourself whenever you say a curse word 


Reinforcement and Punishment--Type of Stimulus Change & Effect on Future Frequency of Behavior Table 



  • occurs when a stimulus change immediately follows a response and increases the future frequency of that theype of behavior in similar conditions 
  • Reinforcement can also strengthen:
    • Duration
    • Latency 
    • Magnitude
    • Topography 
  • a response becomes more frequent in the future if the reinforcer has followed it within 0-60 seconds (the immediacy of the reinforcer is critical) [Delayed consequences = rule goverened behavior]


What reinforcement does

  • makes antecedent stimulus conditions relevant
  • changes antecedents and consequences
  • creates stimulus control 
  • when the SD is added, the 2 term contingency becomes the 3 term contingency of the DISCRIMINATED OPERANT
  • MOs alter the current value of stimulus changes as reinforcement 


Possible Unwanted Effects of Reinforcement

  • Effects can temporary 
  • ETHICS: concerns about the use of of positive and negative reinforcement are similar and arise from the severity of the EO that occasions the behavior (ie extremely noxious events as aversive stimuli can generate behaviors that compete with the acquisition of the desire behavior
  • Relying on the use of contrived reinforcers (as opposed to natural) 
  • Using reinforcers that are potentially harmful (ie cigarettes) or that may require excessive MOs 
  • Behavioral Contrast- When the rate of responding to a stimulus in one setting changes when the condition of reinforcement in the other settings gets modified 


Public Misconceptions About Reinforcement

  • Using contrived external reinforcers will result in a loss of intrinsitc motivation--NOT TRUE
  • Reinforcement is bribery--NOT TRUE. Bribery is an artificial reward that is not related to the act and is given before the behavior occurs. 


Behavioral Contrast

  • When the rate of responding to a stimulus in one setting changes when the condition of reinforcement in the other setting gets modified 
  • It is also an unwanted effect of punishment, extenction, and DROs 
  • Positive Behavioral Contrast: 
    • Behavior INCREASES for a potentially more favorable reinforcer after being exposed to a reinforcer that has become less favorable 
    • Ex: Skinner's pigeons had a blue key and a yellow key that delivered food at an equal rate for each key after a certain number of pecks. The blue key's food tasted better. When Skinner stopped the yellow key from delivering (less favorable) food, the pigeon increased pecking of the blue key even though the rate of reinforcement did not change. 
  • Negative Behavioral Contrast:
    • Behavior DECREASES for a less favorable reinforcer after being exposed to a reinforcer that is clearly more favorable
    • Ex. You've just moved in with your girlfriend and you pick up her socks. One day you stop doing so--now the rate at which she picks up her socks decreases even lower than it was at baseline 


Positive Reinforcement

(Type 1 Reinforcement; Sr+)

  • a PROCESS that occurs when a behavior is followed immediately by the presentation of a stimulus that INCREASES the FUTURE frequency of the behavior in similar conditions 
  • This is the most important and widely used concept in ABA 


5 Types of Positive Reinforcers


  1. Edible- chocolate
  2. Activity- swinging 
  3. Tangible- iPad
  4. Social- praise 
  5. Sensory- squeezes and tickles 


Formulas for Setting Initial Criterion for Reinforcement

Increasing Behavior: 

Initial Criterion is greater than baseline and less than or equal to highest performance in baseline 


Decreasing Behavior: 

Initial Criterion is less than baseline and greater than or equal to lowest performance in baseline 


Negative Reinforcement

(Type 2 Reinforcement; Sr-

  • A PROCESS that occurs when a behavior is followed immediately by the reduction or removal of a stimulus that increases the future frequency of the behavior in similar conditions 
  • 2 Types: 
    • ​Escape
    • Avoidance
      • ​Free Operant Avoidance
      • Discriminated Avoidance 



In negative reinforcement, escape is a response that stops an ONGOING aversive event. 



  • In negative reinforcement, avoidance is a response that PREVENTS or POSTPONES the presntation of a stimulus 
  • 2 Types
    • Discriminated Avoidance 
      • A contingency in which responding in the presence of a SIGNAL/WARNING prevents the onset of a stimulus from which escape is a reinforcer
      • Think SD 
      • Ex: checking the traffic is the SD for choosing to take side streets to work 
    • Free Operant Avoidance
      • no signal/warning
      • a continegency in which responses at ANY TIME during the interval prior to the secheduled onset of an aversive stimulus delays the presentation of the aversive stimulance 
      • Avoidance behavior is FREE to occur at any time
      • Ex: You do NOT check the traffic and decide to take side streets to work to avoid potential traffic 


Unconditioned Reinforcer/Reinforcement

(UCR; Primary Reinforcer; Unlearned Reinforcer) 

  • A stimulus change that can increase the future frequency of behavior WITHOUT PRIOR PAIRING with any other form of reinforcement
  • UCRs are products of phylogeny 
  • food, water, sleep, etc 


Conditioned Reinforcer/Reinforcement

(CR; Secondary Reinforcer; Learned Reinforcer) 

  • When a previously neutral stiumulus acquires the ability to function as a reinforcer therough stimulus-stimulus pairing with one or more unconditioned or conditioned reinforcers 
  • learning history required--result of ontogeny 


Generalized Conditioned Reinforcer

(Generalized Reinforcer; GCSR)

  • A type of conditioned reinforcer that has been paired with many unconditioned and conditioned reinforcers. 
  • Does not depend on an MO for its effectiveness 
  • likey to be reinforcing at any time 
  • Ex: Tokens, social praise, money 



(SD-, SDP, SP, Punishment based SD

  • When a response is followed immediately by a stimulus that decreases the FUTURE frequency of similar responses. 
  • defined by function and future effects on behavior--not topography or what it does in the moment 
  • two term contingency becomes a 3 term when you add the SDP which is called Discriminative Effects of Punishment 



  • Threats are NOT punishment 
  • Threats function as an MO that evokes alternative behaviors that avoid the threatened punishment 


Recovery from Punishment

When punshment is stopped its effects on the behavior are not permanent. The rate of the ehavior will increase back to its original rate or even exceed it. This is the equivalent to extinction for reinforcement. 


Possible Unwanted Effects of Punishment 

  • Effects on punishment can be temporary 
  • People who are using punishment procedures may be negatively reinforced by their behavior (ex. a parent who hits their child is negatively reinforced by the removal of whining) 
  • Punishment does not address the function of challenging behavior 
  • Emotional and aggressive reactions may develop 
  • Escape and avoidance of the people implementing the procedure or the setting in which it is used 
  • Others may immitate the punishment procedure 
  • Requires a lot of supervision, time, and resources 
  • ETHICS: Reinforcement should be used rather than punishment whenever possible. If necessary, punishment procedures must be accompanied by reinforcement procedures for alternative behavior 


Punisher vs. Aversive Stimulus

An aversive stimulus is just an unpleasant stimulus, but a punisher is a stimulus change that DECREASES the future frequency of the behavior 


Positive Punishment Definition and 5 Types 

(Type 1 Punishment)

  • A PROCESS that occurs when the addition of a stimulus immediately following a behavior results in a decrease in the future frequency of the behavior 
  • 5 Types: ROSER
    1. Reprimands
    2. Overcorrection 
      1. Restitutional Overcorrection
      2. Positive Practice Overcorrection 
    3. Shock/Contingent Electrical Stimulation/ECT
    4. Exercise/Contingent Exercise 
    5. Response Blocking 



(a form of positive punishment)

  • An individual is required to engage in effortful behavior that is directly related to the challenging behavior 
  • 2 Types
    • Restitutional Overcorrection- repair the environment to its original state before the behavior occured AND make it better on top of that 
    • Positive Practice Overcorrection- Replacement behavior. The individual is required to repeatedly perform a correct form of the behavior for a certain amount of time or a certain number of times. 


Response Blocking

  • Physically intervening as soon as the individual begins to emit the challenging behavior to block the COMPLETION of the response
  • Ex: putting mittens on your hands to block nail biting 
  • Response Blocking DOES NOT equal Extinction
    • Response blocking prevents the response from occuring 
    • In extinction, the response can still occur but it will not produce reinforcement 
    • Ex: Using goggles to block eye poking is response blocking because it prevents eye poking. It is not extinction because the response did not occur. If you put eye poking on extinction, you would let the behavior occur but not give attention or allow escape, or whatever the maintaining consequence is 


Negative Punishment Definition and Procedures

(Type 2 Punishment; Penalty Principle; Penalty Contingency) 

  • A PROCESS that occurs when a response is followed immediately by the removal of a stimulus (or the decrease in intensity of a stimulus) that decreases the future frequency of similar responses under stimilar conditions 


Response Cost


  • Loss of a specific amount of reinforcement contingent on behavior 
  • Produces moderate to rapid decreases in behavior 
  1. Bonus Response Cost- When you make additional non contingent reinforcers available to the individual and then take those away (Ex. bonus recess time) 
  2. Direct Fines- Direct loss of positive reinforcers 


ETHICS WARNING: Cannot remove basic client's rights nor should they have to be earned 


Types of Time Out

(Time Out from Reinforcement)

  1. Non-Exclusionary Time Out-- IWOR
    1. Ignoring/Planned Ignoring
    2. Withdrawal of a Specific Reinforcer
    3. Observation/Contingent Observation 
    4. Time-Out Ribbon 
  2. Exclusionary Time Out-- RPH 
    1. Room/Time Out Room
    2. Partition Time Out
    3. Hallway Time OUt 


ETHICS WARNING: limitations on the duration and conditions of time out 


Positive Punishment vs. Negative Reinforcement

  • Both are called Aversive Control 
  • Difference is the effect on behavior (increase or decrease) and whether aversive is added (punishment) or removed (reinforcement) 


Unconditioned Punishers/Punishment

(UCPs; Primary Punishers; Unlearned Punishers) 

  • A stimulus change that decreases the frequency of any behavior that immediately preceds it irrespective of the organism's learning history
  • product of phylogeny
  • extreme heat, loud noises, etc 


Conditioned Punishers/Punishment

(CPs; Secondary Punishers, Learned Punishers) 

  • A previously neutral stimulus that now fu8nctions as a punisher because of prior pairing with one or more other punishers 
  • learning history required
  • ontogenic 
  • Ex: a neutral tone paired with a shock makes the tone a conditioned punisher 


Generalized Conditioned Punishers

(Generalized Punishers) 

  • a type of conditioned punisher that has been paired with many unconditioned and conditioned punishers
  • does not depend on an MO for its effectiveness 
  • Ex. reprimands 
  • Ex. social disapproval 


3 Step Formula for Figuring out Exam Questions on Reinforcement and Punishment



(EXT; Operant Extinction)

  • A procedure that occurs when a previously reinforced response is discontingued so that behavior decreasers in the future 
  • A maintaining reinforcer is no longer provided
  • This is the third principle of ABA
  • Using extinction and punishment together is often effective
  • Ext is more rapid with a behavior that has been maintained by a continuous schedule of reinforcement (CRF)


Possible Unwanted Effects of Exctinction

  • Extinction burst 
  • Extinction induced aggression 
  • Can be difficult to use on infrequent behaviors 
  • May be difficult to know what is maintaining the behavior 
  • May be difficult to control the reinforcer (e.g. attention from peers) 
  • May be difficult or dangerous to ignore the behavior 
  • Sometimes behaviors put on extinction are imitated by others 
  • Gradual decrease in frequency and amplitude of the behavior 
  • If it is not used in a treatment package along with reinforcement for replacement behaviors, etc, it poses ETHICAL problems
  • Behavioral Contrast  


4 Common Misconceptions about Extinction 


3 Types of Extinction 


  1. Positive Reinforcement 
    • if the function is attnetion, then ignoring (planned ignoring) is the procedural extinction procedure 
    • If the function is access to tangibles, not giving them the tangible is EXT 
  2. Automatic Reinforcement (Sensory Extinction)- mask or remove the sensory consequence 
  3. Negative Reinforcement (Escape Extinction) 


Extinction Graph 


Extinction Burst

Immediate increase in the frequency of responding when an extinction procedure is initally implemented


Spontaneous Recovery 

A typical pattern in which the behavior that diminshed during the extinction process reoccurs even though the behavior has not been reinforced


Factors Contributing to Resistance to Extinction

  1. Long history of reinforcement
  2. Intermittent schedules of reinforcement 
  3. High quality reinforcer 
  4. Large amount of reinforcer 
  5. Response requiring little effort 
  6. Number of previous extinction trials 


Operant Extinction vs. Respondent Extinction 

Operant EXT: withholding reinforcement when the behavior occurs 


Respondent EXT: the unpairing of a conditioned stimulus-CS and an unconditioned stimulus-US

Ex: Pavlov's dogs--no longer presenting the food after the tone 


Stimulus Control 

  • When the rate/frequency, latency, duration, or amplitude of a response is altered in the presence of an antecedent stimulus 
  • Acquired when:
    • Responses are reinforced only in the presence of the SD
    • Responses are not reinforced in the presence of Sdelta


Factors Affecting Stimulus Control 

  1. Pre-Attending Skills 
  2. Stimulus Salience-- affected by: 
    1. Masking
    2. Overshadowing 



(affecting stimulus control) 

  • Even though a stimulus has acquired stimulus control over a behavior, a competing stimulus can BLOCK the evocative function of that stimulus 
  • The behavior is already in the individual's repertoire but is MASKED by other elements 
  • Ex: Child knows answer to question but does not respond in the presence of peers 



(affecting stimulus control) 

  • The presence of one stimulus condition interferes with the acquisition of stimulus control by another stimulus
  • The individusal cannot learn the bheavior because the learning is OVERSHADOWED by another element 
  • Ex: Watching cheerleading outide the window during math class distracts the student from learning math facts 


Discriminative Stimulus


  • A stimulus in the presence of which responses of some type have been reinforced and in the absence of which the same type of responses have occured and not been reinforced in the past 
  • Lets you know that reinforcement is available 
  • Any form of physical energy capapble of detection by the organism can function as an SD



Stimulus Delta 

  • A stimulus in the presence of which a given behavior has NOT produced reinforcement in the past 
  • Sdelta does not always mean zero reinforcement. It can be lesser quality or amount of reinforcement than the SD


SD vs. MO

  • SDs and MOs in combination are called the Repertoire Altering Effect 
  • In Common:
    • both occur before the behavior (antecedents) 
    • both have evocative functions
  • Differences: 
    • MO changes the value of the stimulus as a reinforcer or punisher.
      • Related to the differential reinforcing effectiveness of an environmental event 
      • no reinforement history necessary 
    • SD - a response in the presence of the SD must produce more rienforcement than it does in it's absence 
      • this is dependent on the rienforcing history 

Example: When you are hungry, there is an MO that evokes the behavior of getting food and increases the value of food as a reinforcer. Seeing McDonald's is the SD that signals the availability of food 


Stimulus Generalization vs. Stimulus Discrimination Summary Diagram 


Stimulus Generalization 

  • When an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in its presence, the same type of behavior tends to be evoked by stimuli that share similar phsyical properties with the controlling atecedent stimulus 
  • Stimuli that are similar to the original SD evoke the same responses as that original SD
  • Ex: calling all women mommy 
  • LOOSE degree of stimulus control 


Stimulus Discrimination 

  • Occurs when new stimuli (similar or not similar to the controlling stimulus) do NOT evoke the same response as the controlling stimulus 
  • TIGHT degree of stimulus control 
  • Ex: discriminating green from turquoise 


Stimulus Discrimination Training

(Discrimination Training) 

  • A procedure in which response are reinforced in the presence of one stimulus condition- SD but not in the presence of the other condition-Sdelta


Generalization Gradient

(Stimulus Generalization Gradient) 

  • A graph of the extent to which behavior that has been reinforced in the presence of a specific stimulus condition is emitted in the presence of other stimuli 
  • The gradient shows the relative degree of stimulus generalization and stimulus control (or discrimination) 
    • Flat Slope= little stimulus control 
    • Increasing/Decreasing Slope= more stimulus control
  • Ex. Various distances of physical proximity to a child and the child's resulting SIB. SIB rates got progressively lower as the distnce between the individual and the behavior analyst increased 



(Concept Formation; Concept Acquisition)

  • A concept is a product of both stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination 
  • Stimulus generalization WITHIN a stimulus class and stimulus discrimination BETWEEN stimulus classes 
  • A concept requires you to discriminate between what is included in a stimulus lass and what is excluded from that same stimulus class 
  • Ex: Green 
    • generalization of all different shades of green = green
    • discrimination between green and yellow or blue


How to Teach Conepts

  • Discrimination training
  • Multiple exemplars for what the concept is and what it is not 


Simple Discrimination 

Three term contingency: 

a discriminative stimulus → response → consequence


Conditional Discrimination 

  • A form of complex stimulus control in which the role of one SD is CONDITIONAL on the presence of other discriminative stimuli (or sometimes an MO) 
  • 4 term contingency 
    • conditional stimuli → antecedent stimuli → response → consequence 


Matching to Sample 

  • Selecting a comparison stimulus corresponding to a sample stimulus 
  • 2 Types:
    • Identical Matching to Sample 
    • Symbolic Matching to Sample
      • the relation between the sample and comparison stimuli is arbitrary
      • Ex: matching picture to word 


Stimulus Equivalence

  • The emergence of accurate responding to untrained and nonreinforced stimulus stimulus relations following the reinforcement of responses to some stimulus stimulus relations 
  • Useful for teaching complex verbal relations 
  • Must have a positive demonstration on 3 different behavioral tests that represent:
    • If A = B, and B = C, then A = C 


3 Parts of Stimulus Equivalence 


  1. Reflexivity
  2. Symmetry
  3. Transitivity 



(from stimulus equivalence) 

(Generalized Identical Matching) 

  • simple non-symbolic matching to sample 
  • picture of dog to picture of dog
  • the behavior of matching the two identical stimuliu are under reflexive stimulus control 
  • A = A



(from stimulus equivalence) 

  • Occurs with reversibility of the sample stimulus and the comparison stimulus 
  • The stimulus control of A and B are symmetrical 
  • If A = B, then B = A 
    • A is picture of dog 
    • B is written word "dog" 



(from stimulus equivalence) 

  • The final critical test for stimulus equivalence 
  • Requires demonstration of 3 untrained stimulus-stimulus sequences
    • A = B
    • B = C
    • A = C
      • A transitive relation occured between A and C even though it is not taught 
      • C is the spoken word "dog" 


Equivalence Class

  • An equivalence class results from stimulus equivalence training, the symoblic matching to sample procedures 
  • A set of arbitary stimuli that do not need to have common physical properties (e.g. spoke word dog and written word dog share no common phyiscal properties with a picture of a dog) 
  • An equivalence class is formed if all stimuli in that set are reflexive, symmetrical, and transitive with each other. 


Rule Goverened Behavior

(Rule Governance; Rule Control; Rules) 

  • A verbal description of a behavioral contingency 
  • behavior comes under the control of DELAYED consequences--therefore it's not a contingency 
  • Deadlines in rules help to change behavior 
    • The deadline demarks when the SD period ends. 
    • The time before the deadline is the SD
    • The time after the deadline is the Sdelta


Contingency Shaped Behavior

(Contingency Control) 

  • When a behavior is directly controlled by a contingency, not rules 
  • ABC
  • A consequence must occur within 0 to 60 seconds following the response 


5 ways to know if a behavior is the result of rules or a contingency

  1. There is not an immediate consequence for the response
  2. Response Consequence delay is greater or equal to 60 seconds 
  3. We see behavior change without reinforcement 
  4. A large increase in the frequency of the bheavior occurs following 1 instance of reinforcement 
  5. No consequence for the behavior exists (including no automatic reinforcement) but the rule exists 


Motivating Operation 

  • an antecedent condition, operation, or stimulus that alters the effectiveness (value) of a consequence AND has a momentary effect on a dimension of behavior 
  • Two Types:
    • Establishing Operation 
    • Abolishing Operation 


Establishing Operation 

  • An MO that increases the effectiveness of a stimulus as a reinforcer 
  • Value altering effect- Increase the effectiveness of a consequence as a punisher or a reinforcer
  • Establishing Operations have establishing effects by definition 
  • Eos may evoke or abate behavior depending on whether the EO alters the effectiveness of a reinforcer or a punisher 
    • Reinforcer establishing effect
    • Punisher establishing effect 


Value Altering Effect

An MO can increase or decrease the effectiveness of a consequence as a punisher or a reinforcer


Behavior Altering Effect

  • A momentary increase or decrease in the frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by the stimulus that is alterned in effectiveness by the same MO
  • Evocative Effect- When MOs evoke behavior, they increase the momentary frequency of behavior 
  • Abative Effect- When MOs abate behavior, they decrease the momentary frequency of behavior 
  • Whether an EO or an AO evokes or abates responding is determined by the type of consequence that the specific EO or AO alters (reinforcement or punishment)


Abolishing Operation 

  • Value altering effect- Decrease the effectiveness of a consequence as a reinforcer or a punisher 
  • Abolishing Operations have abolishing effects by definition
  • AOs may abate or evoke behavior depending on whether the AO alters the effectiveness of a reinforcer or a punisher 
    • Reinforcer abolishing effect
    • Punisher abolishing effect 


EO related to reinforcement

  • EO related to reinforcement- EOSR– Increases the valuevof other events as form of reinforcement (reinforcer establishing effect) and evokes the type of behavior which as been reinforced by those events in the past (evocative effect)
    • EO related to positive reinforcement-
      • EOSR+ Water deprivation has a reinforcer establishing effect—water becomes more valuable 
        • Evocative effect- evokes behavior that has obtained water in the past 
    • Temperature dropping has a reinforcer establishing effect—a jacket becomes more valuable 
      • Evocative effect- evokes bx that has obtained a jacket in the past 
  • EO related to negative reinforcement- EOSR-
    • A heat wave is in effect. This has a reinforcer establishing effect--an air conditioner becomes more valuable 
    • Evocative effect- evokes bx that has obtained an air conditioner int he past 


AO related to reinforcement

  • AO related to reinforcement- AOSR– Decreases the value of other events as forms of reinforcement (reinforcer abolishing effect) and abates the type of behavior which has been reinforced by those events in the past 
  • AO related to positive reinforcement- AOSR+
    • Water satiation has a reinforcer abolishing effect—water becomes less valuable as a reinforcer
      • Abative effect- abates bx that has resulted in water in the past 
    • Temperature increases has a reinforcer abolishing effect— jacket becomes less valuable as a reinforcer
      • Abative effect- abates bx that has resulted in a jacket in the past 


Function Altering Effects

  • Refers to how the FUTURE behavior of a person changes because of the MO they are experiencing in the moment 
  • Consequent variables (reinforcement, punishment, extinction) that alter the FUTURE frequency of whatever behavior immediately preceded those consequences 
  • The MO the person experiecnes in the moment functions as an SP to cause a decrease in the future frequency of the particular type of behavior that immediately preceded that instance of wathever discomfort the person is experiencing 
    • Ex: Working out too hard at the gym. Pain evokes the behavior of taking medication. The value of medication has momentarily increased. The pain you experienced in the moment will in the FUTURE cause a reduction of the bheavior that led you to this pain


Unconditioned MOs


  • for all organisms, there are events, operations, and stimulus conditions with value altering motivating effects that are unlearned
  • 9 main UMOs:
    1. food deprivation 
    2. water deprivation
    3. sleep deprivation
    4. activity deprivation
    5. oxygen deprivation
    6. sex deprivation
    7. becoming too warm 
    8. becoming too cold 
    9. increase in pain 


Conditioned Motivating Operations 


  • motivating operations that alter the effectiveness of consequences as a result of the individual organism’s learning history (Ontogenic provenance). Establishing and abolishing effects are learned.
  • Three types:
    • Surrogate MO
    • Reflexive MO
    • Transitive MO 


Surrogate MO

  • A stimulus that has acquired its effectiveness by accompanying some eother MO and has come to have the same value altering and behavior altering effects as the MO that it has accompanied 
  • Alters the value of consequences that are under the control of an MO with which it has been PAIRED


Reflexive MO

  • A condition or object that acquires its effectiveness as an MO by PRECEDING a situation that is either WORSENING or IMPROVING
  • Since the condition or ojbect comes before the aversive event, escape or avoidance would now be highly reinforcing 
  • Alternatively, getting closer and closer to one's goal may function as a reflexive MO that encourages contineued performance 
  • CEO-R establishes its own termination as an effective form of negative reinforcement or punishment 

    CAO-R abolishes its own termination as an effective form of negative reinforcement or punishment 

  • Threat CEO-Restablishes its own termination as an effective form ofnegative reinforcement or punishment. It evokesavoidance behavior and evokes behavior that has resulted in its own termination in the past. 
  • The Threat CEO-R is actually the warning stimulus that evokes an avoidance response in what has ben termed signaled avoidance or discriminated avoidance (not a good term because it’s confused with discriminative stimulus which is incorrect). The warning stimulus establishes the termination of itself as conditioned negative reinforcement. Termination of the warning stimulus is correlated with the delay or prevention of the worsening condition. 


Motivating Stimuli 


  • a stimulus that must be present to allow the person to engage in the behavior that is primed for reinforcement. Its absence evokes seeking out that stimulus


Transitive MO

  • An environmental variable that establishes (or abolishes) the reinforcing effectiveness of another stimulus (SMand thereby evokes (or abates) the behavior that has been reinforced by that other stimulus
  • UMO effects (food deprivation, etc) transfer to the conditioned reinforcers and when they do they are called TRANSITIVE CONDITIONED MOs.