As a Behavior Analyst what type of effective behavior modification will you use to plan / evaluate?

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Read Case Study 1: William’s aggressive behavior

Ms. Tooley contacts you, a behavior analyst, to assist her with a child in her classroom named William. William is a healthy 6-year-old boy who has been terrorizing his classmates. The problem has been occurring since the beginning of the school year. William pushes, kicks, hits or bites other children in the class. This has often happened during recess time. Ms.Tooley first addressed the issue by scolding William. That did not appear to reduce the behavior, so she then required him to visit the principal's office whenever an episode of aggressive behavior occurred. These visits also had little effect in reducing the aggressive behaviors.

Write a 3-4 page paper addressing the following: You will need to write 3-4 typed pages for each case in order to address all required parts. Paper must be your original work; No plagiarism. An APA formatted Word document, double-spaced in 12-point font.

Part I

Define the target behavior in William’s case study by writing a 1–2 sentence target behavior definition using terms that can be observed and the appropriate behavior analytic language.

  • Discuss one reason why the teacher's original methods of behavior management may have failed.
  • Describe how you would first assess William. Provide rationale for your choice of assessment.
  • Identify a hypothetical function to William’s target behavior.

Part II

Design an effective behavior modification program.

  • Use a combination approach treatment package (two or more behavior techniques from the relevant literature).
  • One of your interventions should be designed to increase William’s appropriate behavior.
  • One of your interventions should be designed to decrease William’s inappropriate behavior.

Provide rationale for selecting the combination approach, drawing upon behavior theory. Your rationale should include a description of the function of William’s behavior and how your intervention choices address that function.

Part III

Explain how you would evaluate the modification program.

Include the following in your explanation:

  • The type of data you are collecting
  • How often you are collecting data
  • Who is going to collect that data
  • The research design you are using
  • An explanation of why that research design was the best choice

Describe how you will know if your treatment was effective. Make sure to explain each step.

Explain how to program for generalization and maintenance of William’s behavior.

Read Case Study 2: Annie’s change to Language Acquisition

Annie is a 4-year-old child diagnosed with autism. She uses very little language. She has a few words in her vocabulary and is capable of using language. She currently uses gestures and challenging behavior to get her wants and needs met. For example, if she wants a drink, she will lead her mother to the refrigerator and jump up and down and cry until her mother correctly guesses what she wants. You have been called in to use Skinner’s Verbal Behavior approach to develop a language acquisition program for Annie.

Write a 3-4 page paper addressing the following:

Design a language acquisition program for Annie. Include the following in the program you design:

  • at least two types of verbal behavior
  • a description of each verbal behavior and why you chose to teach that behavior
  • which verbal behavior you would teach first and why

Develop a set of procedures to follow to teach each type of verbal behavior. This should include the antecedent and consequent controlling variables for each type of verbal behavior.

Describe how you will collect data on Annie’s verbal behavior.

Explain how you will evaluate your language acquisition program to know if your program is effective.

Describe how you will use Behavioral Skills Training to teach Annie’s mother how to implement your language acquisition program.

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Chapter 1 Introduction to Behavior Modification © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Behavior Modification • The applied science and professional practice concerned with analyzing and modifying human behavior • Synonymous with Applied Behavior Analysis © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Characteristics of Behavior 1. Involves an individual’s actions not labels 2. Involves measurable dimensions - frequency - duration - intensity - latency 3. Can be observed, described, and recorded 4. Has an impact on the environment (physical or social) 5. Behavior is lawful 6. May be overt or covert © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Characteristics of Behavior Modification 1. Focus on behavior - behavioral excesses or deficits 2. Guided by the theory and philosophy of behaviorism 3. Based on basic behavioral principles 4. Emphasis on current environmental events - antecedents and consequences 5. Procedures are clearly described 6. Measurement of behavior change - immediate and long term 7. No emphasis on the past 8. Rejection of underlying causes - explanatory fictions - similarities between the medical model and the behavioral model 9. Treatment implemented by people in everyday life © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Common Misconceptions About Behavior Modification Relies on punishment Uses bribes Simplistic Ignores the real causes of behavior, just treats the symptoms Leads to people controlling each other Ruins intrinsic motivation Makes people dependent on external incentives Dehumanizes people It only works with kids and individuals with disabilities © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Historical Roots of Behavior Modification 1911 Thorndike - Animal Intelligence (law of effect) 1924 Watson - Behaviorism 1927 Pavlov - Conditioned Reflexes 1930’s Skinner - Basic research on behavioral principles - 40’s 1938 Skinner - Behavior of Organisms 1950's Behavior modification with humans 1953 Skinner - Science and Human Behavior 1957 Skinner – Verbal Behavior 1958 Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 1963 Behaviour Research and Therapy (journal) © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Historical Roots of Behavior Modification, con’t 1966 1968 Assoc. for Advancement of Behavior Therapy Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968) 1970 1970 Behavior Therapy (journal) Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 1977 Behavior Modification (journal) 1978 The Behavior Analyst (journal) 1978 Association for Behavior Analysis 1980- Continued research (basic and applied) 2000’s Functional approach Certification in behavior analysis © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Evolution of Behavior Modification and Applied Behavior Analysis Basic demonstrations of environmental influences on behavior (with lab animals then people) Development of treatments primarily consisting of reinforcement and/or punishment Development of treatment packages Development and refinement of functional assessment/functional analysis Functional approach to assessment and intervention Wide range of applications and refinements © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Areas of Application Developmental disabilities Mental illness Education and special education Rehabilitation Community psychology Clinical/counseling psychology Business, industry, and human services Self-management Child behavior management Prevention Sports performance Health-related behaviors Gerontology © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Professional Practice, Certification, and Ethics Evolution of behavior modification into a profession The development of certification by the BACB Ethical guidelines to govern the practice and protect consumers © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Chapter 12 Behavioral Skills Training (BST) Procedures © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Behavioral Skills Training (BST) Procedures Used to teach new behaviors Used for behaviors that can be simulated in a role play Used with learners who can follow instructions and imitate models Used when more intrusive prompting and fading or chaining procedures are not necessary May be used individually or in groups © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment BST is used to teach new behaviors that can be simulated in a _______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment BST is used to teach new behaviors that can be simulated in a role-play. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment To use BST, the learner has to be able to follow _______________ and imitate ______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment To use BST, the learner has to be able to follow instructions and imitate models. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Examples of the use of BST: Teaching parenting skills Teaching assertiveness Teaching abduction prevention skills Teaching social skills Teaching skills to prevent gun play © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved BST Components Instructions Modeling Rehearsal Feedback © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Instructions Must be understood by the learner Given by a person with credibility Opportunity to rehearse the behavior Use instructions with modeling when necessary Give instructions when the learner is paying attention © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Instructions must be given by a person with ______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Instructions must be given by a person with credibility. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Instructions must be given when the learner is paying _______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Instructions must be given when the learner is paying attention. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Modeling Model has high status or similarity Model’s behavior is reinforced Complexity of the model is appropriate for the learner The learner must pay attention to the model The model’s behavior occurs in the proper context (in a role-play or real life) Repeat as necessary Opportunity for immediate rehearsal Variety of exemplars Describe important aspects of the model’s behavior Have the learner describe important aspects of the model’s behavior © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment A model should be provided by someone with high _____________ or ______________ to the learner. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment A model should be provided by someone with high status or similarity to the learner. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment The model’s behavior should be ______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment The model’s behavior should be reinforced. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment After instructions and modeling, the learner must have the opportunity to _____________ the behavior. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment After instructions and modeling, the learner must have the opportunity to rehearse the behavior. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Rehearsal Immediately after instructions and modeling Rehearsal in the proper context (SD ---> R ---> SR) Immediate praise or other reinforcers Corrective feedback if needed Repeat rehearsal of correct behavior Work from easy to hard behaviors or situations (program for success) © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Rehearsal occurs immediately after ___________ and ___________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Rehearsal occurs immediately after instructions and modeling. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Rehearsal should occur in the proper ______________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Rehearsal should occur in the proper context. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Feedback Feedback has two components Praise for correct performance (positive feedback) Instructions for improvement (corrective feedback) if needed Praise correct behavior immediately Always praise some aspect of the performance Use descriptive praise Give instructions for improvement on one aspect of performance at a time Do not make corrective feedback negative (do not criticize) Mix praise and corrective feedback © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment When correct behavior occurs, provide ____________ immediately. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment When correct behavior occurs, provide praise immediately. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Feedback involves _____________________________ and _____________________________. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Self-assessment Feedback involves praise for correct performance and instructions for improvement. © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Promoting generalization Use realistic role plays that simulate the full range of situations Incorporate real life stimuli into training Practice skills outside of sessions in real life situations Arrange to reinforce skills outside of training sessions © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved In situ Training In situ assessment – What is it? – Why is it important? In situ training – What is it? – When is it necessary? – How does it promote generalization? © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved BST and the Three Term Contingency Antecedent ---------> Behavior ---------> Consequence Simulate criterion situation in role play (SD) Provide instructions and modeling ------> Rehearsal -----> Praise for correct performance Further instructions -----> Rehearsal --------> Praise © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved BST in Groups Opportunity for multiple models in multiple situations (multiple exemplars) Opportunity to observe others’ rehearsals Opportunity to observe feedback received by others Opportunity to evaluate others’ performance and provide feedback Less individual rehearsal and feedback © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved Using BST Procedures 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Identify and define the skills to teach Identify all the relevant SD’s Assess the learner’s skills to establish a baseline Begin training with the easiest skill or situation first Describe the behavior and model it in a realistic roleplay context 6. Allow the learner to rehearse the behavior in the roleplay context 7. Provide praise for correct performance and further instructions (feedback) for improvement 8. Repeat until the learner performs the behavior successfully without assistance 9. Advance to the next behavior or situation and repeat steps 5-8 10. Program for generalization © 2016 Cengage Learning: All Rights Reserved PA R T 1 1 Special Applications ISBN 1-256-93044-X Parts 4 through 10 described basic principles of behavior and behavior change tactics derived from those principles. In Part 11 we describe four special applications of behavior change technology. Each of these applications can be conceived as a strategic approach to changing behavior that entails multiple principles and tactics. Chapter 26 combines topical treatment of contingency contracting, token economy, and group contingencies. Chapter 27, Self Management, warrants chapter-length treatment due to the significant research literature demonstrating the effectiveness of a variety of self-management tactics across a wide range of subjects, settings, and behaviors. 549 Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. CHAPTER 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies Key Terms backup reinforcer behavioral contract contingency contract dependent group contingency group contingency hero procedure independent group contingency interdependent group contingency level system self-contract token token economy Behavior Analyst Certification Board® BCBA® & BCABA® Behavior Analyst Task List,© Third Edition Content Area 9: Behavior Change Procedures 9-18 Use contingency contracting (e.g., behavioral contracts). 9-19 Use token economy procedures, including levels systems. 9-20 Use independent, interdependent, and dependent group contingencies. © 2006 The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.,® (BACB®) all rights reserved. A current version of this document may be found at Requests to reprint, copy, or distribute this document and questions about this document must be submitted directly to the BACB. ISBN 1-256-93044-X 550 Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies This chapter addresses contingency contracting, token economy, and group contingencies as special applications of behavioral procedures. Each application will be defined; its relationship to behavioral principles will be explained; requisite components of the procedure will be addressed; and guidelines for designing, implementing, and evaluating each will be presented. These topics are grouped because they have several features in common. First, they have an effective and robust literature supporting their inclusion. Second, they can be combined with other approaches in package programs to provide an additive effect. Also, each can be used in individual and group arrangements. The flexibility that these three special applications provide makes them an attractive option for practitioners. Contingency Contracting ISBN 1-256-93044-X Definition of Contingency Contract A contingency contract, also called a behavioral contract, is a document that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of a specified behavior and access to, or delivery of, a specified reward such as free time, a letter grade, or access to a preferred activity. Typically, contracts specify how two or more people will behave toward each other. Such quid pro quo agreements make one person’s behavior (e.g., preparing dinner) dependent on the other person’s behavior (e.g., washing and putting away the dishes by a prescribed time the night before). Although verbal agreements may be considered contracts in the legal sense, they are not contingency contracts because the degree of specificity in designing, implementing, and evaluating a contingency contract far exceeds what is likely to occur in a verbal arrangement between parties. In addition, the physical act of signing the contract and its prominent visibility during execution are integral parts of contingency contracts. Contingency and behavior contracts have been used to modify academic performance (Newstrom, McLaughlin, & Sweeney, 1999; Wilkinson, 2003), weight control (Solanto, Jacobson, Heller, Golden, & Hertz, 1994), adherence to medical regimens (Miller & Stark, 1994), and athletic skills (Simek, O’Brien, & Figlerski, 1994). Indeed, a compelling advantage of contingency contracts is their ability to be implemented alone or in packaged programs that incorporate two or more interventions concurrently (De Martini-Scully, Bray, & Kehle, 2000). 551 Components of Contingency Contracts There are three major parts in most contracts—a description of the task, a description of the reward, and the task record. Essentially, the contract specifies the person(s) to perform the task, the scope and sequence of the task, and the circumstances or criterion for task completion. Figure 26.1 shows a contingency contract implemented by the parents of a 10-year-old boy to help him learn to get up and get ready for school each day. Task The task side of the contract consists of four parts. Who is the person who will perform the task and receive the reward—in this case, Mark. What is the task or behavior the person must perform—in this example, getting ready for school. When identifies the time that the task must be completed—every school day. How well is the most important part of the task side, and perhaps of the entire contract. It calls for the specifics of the task. Sometimes it is helpful to list a series of steps or subtasks so that the person can use the contract as a checklist of what must be done. Any exceptions should be written in this part. Reward The reward side of a contract must be as complete and accurate as the task side (Ruth, 1996). Some people are very good at specifying the task side of a contract; they know what they want the other person to do. When it comes to the reward side, however, specificity is lost and problems arise. Reward statements such as “Can watch some television” or “Will play catch when I get a chance” are not explicit, specific, or fair to the person completing the task. On the reward side, Who is the person who will judge task completion and control delivery of the reward. With Mark’s getting-ready-for-school contract, those persons are his parents. What is the reward. When specifies the time that the reward can be received by the person earning it. With any contract it is crucial that the reward come after successful task completion. However, many rewards cannot be delivered immediately following task completion. In addition, some rewards have built-in, limited availability and can be delivered only at certain times (e.g., seeing the home-town baseball team play). Mark’s contract specifies that his reward, if earned, will be received on Friday nights. How much is the amount of reward that Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 552 Part 10 Special Applications Feb. 12, 2007 Feb. 12, 2007 Figure 26.1 Example of a contingency contract. From Sign Here: A Contracting Book for Children and Their Parents (2nd ed., p. 31) by J. C. Dardig and W. I. Heward, 1981, Bridgewater, NJ: Fournies and Associates. Copyright 1981 by Fournies and Associates. Reprinted by permission. can be earned by completing the task. Any bonus contingencies should be included; for example, “By adhering to her contract Monday through Friday, Eileen receives an extra reward on Saturday and Sunday.” Task Record At first glance the principle of behavior behind contingency contracts seems deceptively simple: A behavior is followed by a contingent reward—surely a case of positive reinforcement. Yet, in most contracts the reward, although contingent, is much too delayed to reinforce the specified behavior directly; and many successful contracts specify a reward that would not, in fact, function as a reinforcer for the task even if it was presented immediately after the task completion. Further, behavioral contracting is not a single procedure with a single associated behavior and a single reinforcer. Contracting is more accurately conceptualized as an intervention package that combines several behavior principles and procedures. So how do contracts work? Several principles, procedures, and factors are likely to apply. Certainly reinforcement is involved, but not in as simple or direct a fashion as it might seem at first. Rule-governed behavior is probably involved (Malott, 1989; Malott & Garcia, 1991; Skinner, 1969). A contract describes a rule: A Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Including on the contract a place to record task completion serves two purposes. First, recording task completion and reward delivery on the contract sets the occasion for all parties to review the contract regularly. Second, if a certain number of task completions are required to earn the reward (e.g., if a child must dress herself each morning before school for 5 days in a row), a check mark, smiley face, or star can be placed on the task record each time the task is completed successfully. Marking the contract in this manner helps the person remain focused until the assignment is completed and the reward is earned. Mark’s parents used the top row of boxes in the task record to record the days of the school week. In the middle row of boxes they placed gummed stars each day Mark met the conditions of his contract. In the bottom row, Mark’s parents wrote comments about the progress of his contract. Implementing Contingency Contracts How Do Contracts Work? 553 Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies ISBN 1-256-93044-X Applications of Contingency Contracting Contracting in the Classroom The use of contracting in classrooms is well established. For example, teachers have employed contracting to address specific discipline, performance, and academic challenges (Kehle, Bray, Theodore, Jenson, & Clark, 2000; Ruth, 1996). Newstrom and colleagues (1999), for instance, used a contingency contract with a middle school student with behavior disorders to improve the written mechanics associated with spelling and written language. After collecting baseline data on the percentage of capitalization and punctuation marks used correctly across spelling and sentence writing, a contingency contract was negotiated and signed with the student that specified that improved performance would yield free time on the classroom computer. The student was reminded of the terms of the contract before each language arts class that included spelling worksheets and journal writing (i.e., sentences). Figure 26.2 shows the results of the contingency contracting intervention. When baseline was in effect for spelling and written sentences respectively, mean scores for both variables were in the 20% correct range. When contracting was initiated, the student’s performance for spelling and written sentences increased immediately to an average of approximately 84% correct. Because the percentage of correct performance increased Percent Correct Capitalization Baseline Contingency Contracting 100 80 60 40 20 Spelling 0 5 10 15 100 Percent Correct Punctuation specified behavior will be followed by a specified (and reasonably immediate) consequence. The contract serves as a response prompt to perform the target behavior and enables the effective use of a consequence (e.g., going to the movies Saturday night), too delayed in itself to reinforce certain behaviors (e.g., practicing the trumpet on Tuesday). Delayed consequences can help exert control over behaviors performed hours and even days before if they are associated with and linked by verbal behavior to the rule (e.g., “I’ve just finished my trumpet practice— that’s another check mark toward the movies on Saturday”), or to interim token reinforcers (e.g., the check mark on the contract after practicing). The physical visibility of the contract may also function as a response prompt for escaping “guilt” (Malott & Garcia, 1991). At this stage of knowledge development within the field, it cannot be said that contracting is simply positive reinforcement loosely based on the Premack principle (see Chapter 11). It is more likely a complex package intervention of related positive and negative reinforcement contingencies and rule-governed behavior that operate alone and together. 80 60 40 20 Written Sentences 0 5 10 15 Sessions Figure 26.2 Percentage of capitalization and punctuation marks used correctly on spelling worksheets and journal writing during baseline and contingency contracting. From “The Effects of Contingency Contracting to Improve the Mechanics of Written Language with a Middle School Student with Behavior Disorders” by J. Newstrom, T. F. McLaughlin, & W. J. Sweeney, 1999, Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 21 (1), p. 44. Copyright 1999 by The Haworth Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission. immediately when contingency contracting was implemented for spelling (Sessions 4 through 12), but did not increase for written sentences until Session 11, a functional relation was demonstrated between contracting and improved performance. The authors also reported positive anecdotal evidence related to spelling and written language from other teachers with whom this student interacted. Wilkinson (2003) used a contingency contract to reduce the disruptive behavior of a first-grade student. Disruptive behaviors included being off-task, refusals to comply with work assignments and instructions, fighting with peers, and temper tantrums. A behavioral consultation effort was launched with the classroom teacher that included problem identification, analysis, intervention, and evaluation. Contingency contracting consisted of the student earning preferred rewards and social praise from the teacher for three behaviors: increased time on-task, appropriate interactions with other children, and compliance with teacher requests. Observations of her behavior over 13 sessions of baseline and contingency contracting showed a decrease in Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 554 Part 10 Special Applications the percentage of intervals with disruptive behavior when the contingency contract was in effect. Wilkinson reported that the student’s disruptive behavior decreased substantially and remained low during a 4-week follow-up period. Ruth (1996) conducted a 5-year longitudinal study with emotionally disturbed students that blended contingency contracting with goal setting. After students negotiated their contracts with their teachers, a goalsetting component was added that included statements about their daily and weekly goals and the criterion levels for success. Results for the 37 out of 43 students who finished the program after 5 years showed that 75% of daily goals, 72% of weekly goals, and 86% of total goals were reached. Ruth summarized the beneficial effects of combining strategies: “When [goalsetting] methods are incorporated into a contract, the motivational aspects of behavior contracting and goal setting may combine to produce maximum effort and success” (p. 156). Contracting in the Home Miller and Kelley (1994) combined contingency contracting and goal setting to improve the homework performance of four preadolescent students with histories of poor homework completion and who were at risk for other academic problems (e.g., procrastination, being off-task, errors with submitted work). During baseline, parents recorded their children’s homework time ontask, type and accuracy of problem completion, and number of problems completed correctly. Subsequently, parents and children entered into a goal-setting and contingency contracting phase that was preceded by parent training on how to set and negotiate goals and write contracts. Each night, parents and children established their respective goals and negotiated a compromise goal based on that interaction. Each week, renegotiations occurred for tasks, rewards, and sanctions should the contract not be met. A recording sheet was used to measure progress. Figure 26.3 shows the results of the study. When goal setting was combined with contingency contracting, accuracy performance increased for all students. Miller and Kelley’s findings reaffirm the notion that contingency contracting can be combined successfully with other strategies to produce functional outcomes. Flood and Wilder (2002) combined contingency contracting with functional communication training to re- Using Contracting to Teach Self-Management to Children Ideally, contingency contracting involves the active participation of the child throughout the development, implementation, and evaluation of the contract. For many children, contracting is a first experience in identifying specific ways they would like to act and then arranging certain aspects of their environment to set the occasion for and reward those acts. If more of the decision making for all parts of the contracting process is turned over to children gradually and systematically, they can become skilled at self-contracting. A selfcontract is a contingency contract that a person makes with herself, incorporating a self-selected task and reward as well as personal monitoring of task completion and self-delivery of the reward. Self-contracting skills can be achieved by a multistep process of having an adult prescribe virtually all of the elements of the task and reward and gradually shifting the design of the elements to the child. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Clinical Applications of Contracting duce the off-task behavior of an elementary-aged student diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who had been referred to a clinic-based program because his off-task behavior had reached alarming levels. Antecedent assessment, functional communication training, and contingency contracting were conducted in a therapy room located in the clinical facility. Specifically, antecedent assessments were conducted to determine the level of off-task behavior when the difficulty of academic tasks varied from easy to difficult, and therapist attention varied from low to high. A preference assessment was also conducted. Using discrete trial training, the student was taught to raise his hand for assistance with tasks (e.g., “Can you help me with this problem?”). The therapist sat nearby and responded to appropriate requests for assistance and ignored other vocalizations. Once requesting assistance was mastered, the contingency contract was established whereby the student could earn preferred items, identified through the assessment, contingent on accurate task completion. The results showed that during baseline, off-task performance was high for math division and word problems. When the intervention was introduced, an immediate reduction in off-task behavior was noted for division and word problems. Also, the student’s accuracy in completing the division and word problems improved as well. Whereas during baseline conditions he solved correctly 5% and 33% of the division and word problems, respectively, during intervention he solved 24% and 92% of the problems correctly. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies 100 BL GS + CC BL 555 GS + CC 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 Richard 0 100 90 80 70 60 Percentage of Accuracy 50 40 30 Jenny 0 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 Adam 0 Figure 26.3 Percentage of homework problems completed accurately during baseline and a treatment condition consisting of goal setting and contingency contracting. Sessions correspond to sequential school days (i.e., Monday through Thursdays) on which subjects were assigned homework. Data were not collected on days on which homework was not assigned. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 Ann 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 Sessions ISBN 1-256-93044-X Developing Contingency Contracts Although teachers, therapists, or parents can unilaterally determine a contract for a child or client, contracting is usually more effective when all of the parties involved play an active role in developing the contract. Several methods and guidelines have been proposed for developing contingency contracts (Dardig & Heward, 1981; From “The Use of Goal Setting and Contingency Contracting for Improving Children’s Homework Performance” by D. L. Miller & M. L. Kelley, 1994, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, p. 80. Copyright 1994 by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Inc. Reprinted by permission. Downing, 1990; Homme Csanyi, Gonzales & Rechs, 1970). Contract development involves the specification of tasks and rewards in a fashion agreeable and beneficial to each party. Dardig and Heward (1981) described a fivestep procedure for task and reward identification that can be used by teachers and families. Step 1: Hold a meeting. To get the entire group (family or class) involved in the contracting process, a Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 556 Part 10 Special Applications meeting should be held. At this meeting members can discuss how contracts work, how they can help the group cooperate and get along better, and how contracts can help individuals meet personal goals. Parents or teachers should emphasize that they will participate in all of the steps leading up to and including implementation of contracts. It is important that children view contracting as a behavior-exchange process shared by all members of the group, not as something adults impose on them. The field-tested list-making procedures described in the following steps provide a simple and logical framework for the selection of tasks and rewards for family and classroom contracts. Most groups can complete the procedure within 1 to 2 hours. Step 2: Fill Out List A. Each member completes three lists prior to the actual writing of the contract. List A (see Figure 26.4) is designed to help each member identify not only those tasks he can perform within the context of a contract, but also those tasks he already does to help the group. In this way positive attention can be focused on appropriate behaviors that individual members are currently completing satisfactorily. Each member should be given a copy of List A. Everyone should be careful to describe all tasks as specifically as possible. Then the completed lists can be put aside, and the group can proceed to the next step. If a member is unable to write, that person’s list can be completed orally. Step 3: Fill Out List B. List B (see Figure 26.5) is designed to help group members identify possible contract tasks for other group members and helpful behaviors currently being completed by those persons. List B can also identify areas where disagreement exists between group members as to whether certain tasks are actually being completed properly and regularly. Each member should be given a copy of List B and asked to write his or her name in all three blanks at the top. These lists can then be passed around the table so that everyone has a chance to write at least one behavior on each side of everyone else’s list. Everyone writes on every List B except his or her own, and each person should be required to write at least one positive behavior on everyone else’s List B. After completion, these lists should be set aside before moving to the next step. Step 4: Fill Out List C. List C (see Figure 26.6) is simply a sheet with numbered lines on which each group member identifies potential rewards he would like to earn by completing contracted tasks. Participants should list not only everyday favorite things and activities, but also special items and activities they may have wanted for a long time. It is all right if two or more Figure 26.4 A form for self-identification of possible tasks for contingency contracts. List A Name: Jean Other Ways I Could Help My Family and Myself 1. Feed Queenie and Chippy 2. Clean up my bedroom 3. Practice my piano ____________________ 4. Wash dishes ____________________ 5. Help Dad with the laundry 6. ____________________ ____________________ 7. ____________________ ____________________ 1. Be on time for supper 2. Turn off the lights when I leave a room 3. Dust the living room ____________________ 4. Clean up the back yard 5. Hang up my coat when I get home from school 6. ____________________ ____________________ 7. ____________________ ____________________ From Sign Here: A Contracting Book for Children and Their Parents (2nd ed., p. 111) by J. C. Dardig and W. L. Heward, 1981. Bridgewater, NJ: Fournies and Associates. Copyright 1981 by Fournies and Associates. Reprinted by permission. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Things I Do to Help My Family Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies Figure 26.5 A form for identifying potential contracting tasks for others. List B Name: Bobby THINGS Bobby DOES TO HELP THE FAMILY OTHER WAYS Bobby COULD HELP THE FAMILY 1. Vacuums when asked ____________________ 2. Makes his bed________ ____________________ 3. Reads stories to little__ sister________________ 4. Empties trash_________ ____________________ 5. Rakes leaves_________ ____________________ 6. ____________________ ____________________ 7. ____________________ ____________________ 1. Put his dirty clothes in___ hamper_________________ 2. Do homework at night____ without being asked______ 3. Make his own sandwiches for his school lunch______ 4. Clean and sponge off _____ table after supper _____ 5. _______________________ _______________________ 6. _______________________ _______________________ 7. _______________________ ________________________ From Sign Here: A Contracting Book for Children and Their Parents (2nd ed., p. 113) by J. C. Dardig and W. L. Heward, 1981, Bridgewater, NJ: Fournies and Associates. Copyright 1981 by Fournies and Associates. Reprinted by permission. Figure 26.6 A form for self-identification of possible rewards for contingency contracts. List C Name: Sue Ann ISBN 1-256-93044-X MY FAVORITE THINGS, ACTIVITIES, AND SPECIAL TREATS 1. Listening to records 2. Movies 3. Playing pinball 4. Miniature golf 5. Swimming 6. Ice skating 7. Ice cream sundaes 8. Aquarium and fish 9. Picnics 10. Coin collection 11. Riding a horse 12. Fishing with Dad 13. _____ 14. _____ 15. _____ _ _ _ From Sign Here: A Contracting Book for Children and Their Parents (2nd ed., p. 115) by J. C. Dardig and W. L. Heward, 1981, Bridgewater, NJ: Fournies and Associates. Copyright 1981 by Fournies and Associates. Reprinted by permission. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 557 558 Part 10 Special Applications people indicate the same reward. After List C is completed, each person should collect his two other lists and read them carefully, talking over any misunderstood items. Step 5: Write Contracts. The final step begins with choosing a task for each person’s first contract. Discussion should move around the group with members trying to help each other decide which task is the most important to start doing first. Everyone should write who is going to perform the task, exactly what the task is, how well and when it has to be done, and any possible exceptions. Everyone should also look at List C and choose a reward that is neither excessive nor insignificant but is fair for the selected task. Each member should write who will control the reward, what the reward is, when it is to be given, and how much is to be given. Everyone in the group should write one contract during the first meeting. Guidelines and Considerations in Implementing Contracts In determining whether contingency contracting is an appropriate intervention for a given problem, the practitioner should consider the nature of the desired behavior change, the verbal and conceptual skills of the participant, the individual’s relationship with the person(s) with whom the contract will be made, and the available resources. The target behavior to be changed by a contingency contract must be in the person’s repertoire already and must typically be under proper stimulus control in the environment in which the response is desired. If the behavior is not in the individual’s repertoire, other behavior-building techniques should be attempted (e.g., shaping, chaining). Contracting is most effective with behaviors that produce permanent products (e.g., completed homework assignment, cleaned bedroom) or that occur in the presence of the person who is to deliver the reward (e.g., the teacher or parent). Reading ability by the participant is not a prerequisite for successful contracting; however, the individual must be able to come under the control of the visual or oral statements (rules) of the contract. Contracting with nonreaders involves three types of clients: (a) preschoolers with good verbal skills, (b) school-aged children with limited reading skills, and (c) adults with adequate language and conceptual skills but who lack reading and writing skills. Contracts using icons, symbols, pictures, photographs, audiotapes, or other nonword characterizations can be developed to suit the individual skills of children and adults in all three nonreader groups (see Figure 26.7). Persons who refuse to enter into a contingency contract are another consideration. Whereas many children are eager, or at least willing, to try a contract, some want nothing to do with the whole idea. Using contingency contracting in a collaborative approach (Lassman, Jolivette, & Wehby, 1999) may reduce the likelihood of noncompliance, and following a step-by-step method may help to ensure that consensus is reached at each decision point in the contract (Downing, 1990). However, the reality is that some nonsigners may not agree to participate in a contingency contract, even with the best of positive approaches built into the system. In such cases, another behavior change strategy would likely be a better alternative for dealing with the target behavior. Numerous lists of rules and guidelines for effective Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Figure 26.7 A contingency contract for a nonreader. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies 559 Table 26.1 Guidelines and Rules for Contingency Contracts Guidelines and rules for contracts Comment Write a fair contract. There must be a fair relationship between the difficulty of the task and the amount of the reward. The goal is to achieve a win–win situation for both parties, not for one party to gain an advantage over the other. Write a clear contract. In many instances a contract’s greatest advantage is that it specifies each person’s expectations. When a teacher’s or parent’s expectations are explicit, performance is more likely to improve. Contingency contracts must say what they mean and mean what they say. Write an honest contract. An honest contract exists if the reward is delivered at the time and in the amount specified when the task is completed as agreed. In an honest contract the reward is not delivered if the task has not been completed as specified. Build in several layers of rewards. Contracts can include bonus rewards for beating the best daily, weekly, or monthly performance. Adding these bonuses increases the motivational effect. Add a response cost contingency, Occasionally, it may be necessary to incorporate a “fine”—the removal of rewards—if the agreed-upon task is not completed. Post the contract in a visible place. Public posting allows all parties to see progress toward achieving the goals of the contract. Renegotiate and change a contract when either party is consistently unhappy with it. Contracting is designed to be a positive experience for all parties, not a tedious endurance contest to determine survivors. If the contract is not working, reconsider the task, the reward components, or both. Terminate a contingency contract. A contingency contract is a means to an end, not the end product. Once independent and proficient performance is achieved, the contract can be terminated. Further, a contract can and should be terminated when one party or both parties consistently fail to live up to the terms of the contract. contingency contracting have been published (e.g., Dardig & Heward, 1976; Downing, 1990; Homme et al., 1970). Table 26.1 provides a list of the frequently cited guidelines and rules. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Evaluating Contracts The evaluation of a contingency contract should focus on the objective measurement of the target behavior. The simplest way to evaluate a contract is to record the occurance of task completion. Including a task record on the contract helps make evaluation a natural by-product of the contracting process. By comparing the task record with a precontract baseline of task completion, an objective determination can be made as to whether improvement has occurred. A good outcome is one that results in the specified task being completed more often than it was before the contract. Sometimes the outcome data indicate that the task is being completed more often and more consistently than it was before the contract, but the parties involved are still not happy. In such cases, either the original problem or goal that prompted the development of the contract is not being attained, or one or more of the participants do not like the way in which the contract is being carried out. The first possibility results from selecting the wrong behavior for the task part of the con- tract. For example, let us suppose that John, a ninthgrader, wants to improve on the Ds and Fs he has been getting in algebra and writes a contract with his parents specifying as the task “studying his math” for 1 hour each school night. After several weeks John has failed to study for the required 1 hour on only two nights, but his in-school algebra performance remains unchanged. Has John’s contract worked? The correct answer is both yes and no. John’s contract was successful in that he was consistently completing the specified task—1 hour of study each day. However, in terms of his original objective—better algebra grades—the contract was a failure. John’s contract helped him change the behavior he specified, but he specified the wrong task. Studying for 1 hour, for John at least, was not directly related to his goal. By changing his contract to require that he solve correctly 10 algebra equations each night (the behavior required to get good grades on algebra tests), his goal of obtaining better grades may become a reality. It is also important to consider the participant’s reactions to the contract. A contract that produces desired change in the specified target behavior but causes other maladaptive or emotional responses may be an unacceptable solution. Having the client in the negotiation development of the contract and jointly conducting regular progress checks helps to avoid this situation. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 560 Part 10 Special Applications Token Economy The token economy is a highly developed and researched behavior change system. It has been applied successfully in virtually every instructional and therapeutic setting possible. The usefulness of a token economy in changing behaviors that have been resistant to instruction or therapy is well established in the literature (Glynn, 1990; Musser, Bray, Kehle, & Jenson, 2001). In this section we describe and define token economy and outline effective procedures for using it in applied settings. Definition of a Token Economy Level Systems A level system is a type of token economy in which participants move up (and sometimes down) a hierarchy of levels contingent on meeting specific performance criteria with respect to the target behaviors. As participants move “up” from one level to the next level, they have access to more privileges and are expected to demonstrate more independence. The schedule of token reinforcement is gradually thinned so that participants at the highest levels are functioning on schedules of reinforcement that are similar to those in natural settings. According to Smith and Farrell (1993) level systems are an outgrowth of two major educational advances that began in the late 1960s and 1970s: (a) Hewett’s Engineered Classroom (1968), and (b) Phillips, Phillips, Fixen, and Wolf’s Achievement Place (1971). In both Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X A token economy is a behavior change system consisting of three major components: (a) a specified list of target behaviors; (b) tokens or points that participants receive for emitting the target behaviors; and (c) a menu of backup reinforcer items—preferred items, activities, or privileges—that participants obtain by exchanging tokens they have earned. Tokens function as generalized conditioned reinforcers for the target behaviors. First, behaviors to be reinforced are identified and defined. Second, a medium of exchange is selected; that medium of exchange is a symbol, object, or item, called a token. Third, backup reinforcers are provided that can be purchased with the token. Store-based or manufacturer coupons are analogous to a token economy. When a customer purchases an item from a participating store, the cashier provides the purchaser with the coupon—the medium of exchange—that serves as the token. The coupon is traded later for another item at a reduced price, or it is redeemed immediately for the backup reinforcer. Money is another example of a token that can be exchanged at a later time for backup objects and activities (e.g., food, clothing, transportation, entertainment). As stated in Chapter 11, a token is an example of a generalized conditioned reinforcer. It can be exchanged for a wide variety of backup reinforcers. Generalized conditioned reinforcers are independent of specific states of motivation because they are associated with a wide variety of backup reinforcers. However, generalized conditioned reinforcement is a relative concept: Effectiveness depends to a large extent on the extensiveness of the backup reinforcers. Tokens exchangeable for a wide variety of backup reinforcers have considerable utility in schools, clinics, and hospitals where it is difficult for personnel to control the deprivation states of their clients. Carton and Schweitzer (1996), for example, implemented a token economy to increase the compliance behavior of a 10-year-old boy who was hospitalized for severe renal disease and who required regular hemodialysis. The patient developed a noncompliant repertoire that affected his interactions with nurses and caretakers. During baseline, the number of 30-minute intervals of noncompliance was measured by dividing a 4-hour time block into eight, 30-minute segments. When the token economy was introduced, the boy was told that he could earn one token for each 30-minute period that passed without a noncompliant episode. Tokens were exchanged weekly for baseball cards, comics, and toys. Carton and Schweitzer reported a functional relation between the onset of the token economy and the reduction in noncompliant behavior. When tokens were in effect, noncompliant behavior was virtually eliminated. Followup data collected 3 months and 6 months after termination of token reinforcement yielded continued evidence of low noncompliance to nurse and caretaker requests. Higgins, Williams, and McLaughlin (2001) used a token economy to decrease the disruptive behaviors of an elementary-age student with learning disabilities. The student exhibited high levels of out-of-seat behavior, talking out, and poor sitting posture. After collecting baseline data on the number of out-of-seat, talking out, and poor posture responses, a token economy was implemented. The student earned a check mark that was exchangeable for free time after each minute if an alternative behavior was being emitted instead of the behaviors targeted for reduction. Maintenance checks were taken on two subsequent occasions to determine duration effects. Figure 26.8 displays the results of the study across the three dependent variables. A functional relation was established between the onset of the token economy and the reduction of the behaviors. Further, maintenance checks indicated that the behavior remained at low levels beyond the termination of the token economy. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies Baseline Token Economy 561 Maintenance Talk-Outs 15 10 5 0 Out-of-Seat 15 10 5 0 Poor Posture 15 10 Figure 26.8 The number of talk-outs, out-ofseat behavior, and poor posture during baseline, token economy, and maintenance conditions. 5 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 Observation Days 15 17 19 cases, systematic academic and social programming combined token reinforcement, tutoring systems, student selfregulation, and managerial arrangements. Smith and Farrell stated that level systems are designed to ISBN 1-256-93044-X foster a student’s improvement through self-management, to develop personal responsibility for social, emotional, and academic performance . . . and to provide student transition to a less restrictive mainstream setting. . . . Students advance through the various levels as they show evidence of their achievement. (p. 252) In a level system, students must acquire and achieve increasingly more refined repertoires while tokens, social praise, or other reinforcers are simultaneously decreased. Level systems have built-in mechanisms for participants to advance through a series of privileges, and they are based on at least three assumptions: (a) combined techniques—so called “package programs”—are more ef- From “The Effects of a Token Economy Employing Instructional Consequences for a Third-Grade Student with Learning Disabilities: A Data-Based Case Study” by J. W. Higgins, R. L. Williams, and T. F. McLaughlin, 2001, Education and Treatment of Children, 24 (1), p. 103. Copyright 2001 by The H. W. Wilson Company. Reprinted by permission. fective than individual contingencies introduced alone, (b) student behaviors and expectations must be stated explicitly, and (c) differential reinforcement is necessary to reinforce closer and closer approximations to the next level (Smith & Farrell, 1993). Lyon and Lagarde (1997) proposed a three-level group of reinforcers that placed less desirable reinforcers at Level 1. At this level, students had to earn 148 points or 80% of the 185 maximum points that could be earned during the week to purchase certain items. At Level 3, the highly desirable reinforcers could be purchased only if the students had accumulated at least 167 points, or 90% of the total points possible. As the levels progress, the expectations for performance increase. Cavalier, Ferretti, and Hodges (1997) incorporated a self-management approach with an existing level system to improve the academic and social behavior of two adolescent students with learning disabilities for whom Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 562 Part 10 Special Applications increased participation in a general education classroom was an individualized education program (IEP) goal. Basically, other students in the classroom were making adequate progress through the six-level point system that the teacher had devised, but the inappropriate verbalizations of the two target students during class stalled their progress at Level 1. After collecting baseline data on the number of inappropriate verbalizations, the researchers trained the students to self-record occurrences of these behaviors during two 50-minute intervals in the day. Inappropriate verbalizations were defined explicitly, and during mock trials the students practiced self-recording and received feedback based on teacher observations during the same interval. An emphasis was placed on the accuracy of the students’ recording, and desirable reinforcers were awarded for accurate recording. During the intervention (level system plus self-recording), students were told that they would be observed during the two 50-minute intervals for accuracy. If they met the criterion for each level (e.g., a decrease of five inappropriate verbalizations from the previous session), a reinforcer was delivered. As the students progressed through the levels, the reinforcer changed to more highly desirable items. Results showed a high number of verbalizations during baseline; however, when the packaged intervention was initiated for Student 1, inappropriate verbalizations decreased. This outcome was replicated for Student 2, confirming a functional relation between the the intervention and the decrease in inappropriate verbalizations. Designing a Token Economy The basic steps in designing and preparing to implement a token economy are as follows: 1. Select tokens that will serve as a medium of exchange (e.g., points, stickers, plastic chips). 2. Identify target behaviors and rules. 3. Select a menu of backup reinforcers. 4. Establish a ratio of exchange. 5. Write procedures to specify when and how tokens will be dispensed and exchanged and what will happen if the requirements to earn a token are not met. Will the system include a response cost procedure? 6. Field-test the system before full-scale implementation. A token is a tangible symbol that can be given immediately after a behavior and exchanged later for known reinforcers. Frequently used tokens include washers, checkers, Identifying Target Behaviors and Rules Chapter 3 addressed the selection and definition of behavior change targets. The criteria presented in that Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Selecting Tokens coupons, poker chips, points or tally marks, teacher initials, holes punched in a card, and strips of plastic. Criteria to consider in selecting the token itself are important. First, the token should be safe; it should not be harmful to the learners. If a very young child or a person with severe learning or behavioral problems is to receive the token, it should not be an item that can be swallowed or used to cause injury. Second, the analyst should control token presentation; learners should not be able to bootleg the delivery of the tokens. If tally marks are used, they should be on a special card or made with a special marking pen that is available only to the analyst. Likewise, if holes are punched in a card, the paper punch should be available only to the analyst to avoid counterfeiting. Tokens should be durable because they may have to be used for an extended period of time, and they should be easy to carry, handle, bank, store, or accumulate. Tokens should also be readily accessible to the practitioner at the moment they are to be dispensed. It is important that they be provided immediately after the target behavior. Tokens should be inexpensive; there is no need to spend a large sum of money to purchase tokens. Rubber stamps, stars, check marks, and buttons are all inexpensive items that can be used as tokens. Finally, the token itself should not be a desirable object. One teacher used baseball cards as tokens, but the students spent so much time interacting with the tokens (e.g., reading about players) that the tokens distracted students from the purpose of the system. For some students, the object of an obsession can serve as a token reinforcer (Charlop-Christy & Haymes, 1998). In their study, three children with autism who attended an after-school program served as participants. All three children were consistently off task during activities, preoccupied with some objects, and engaged in self-stimulatory behaviors. During baseline, the students earned stars for appropriate behavior. Inappropriate behaviors or incorrect responses were addressed by saying “try again” or “no.” When the students earned five stars, the tokens could be exchanged for backup reinforcers (e.g., food, pencils, tablets). During the token condition, an “obsession” object (one the children had been previously preoccupied with) was used as the token. Once they had earned five obsession objects, children could exchange them for food items or other known reinforcers. CharlopChristy and Haymes reported that the overall pattern of responding demonstrated that when the token was an obsession object, student performance improved. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies chapter also apply to the selection and definition of rules and target behaviors for a token economy. Generally, the guidelines for selecting behaviors for a token economy include (a) selecting only measurable and observable behaviors; (b) specifying criteria for successful task completion; (c) starting with a small number of behaviors, including some that are easy for the individual to accomplish; and (d) being sure the individual possesses the prerequisite skills for any targeted behaviors (Myles, Moran, Ormsbee, & Downing, 1992). After rules and behaviors that apply to everyone are defined, then criteria and behaviors specific to individual learners should be established. Many token economy failures can be traced to requiring the same behaviors and setting the same criteria for all learners. Token economies usually need to be individualized. For example, in a classroom setting the teacher may want to select different behaviors for each student. Or perhaps the token economy should not be applied to all students in the classroom. Perhaps only the lowest functioning students in the classroom should be included. However, students who do not need a token system should still continue to receive other forms of reinforcement. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Selecting a Menu of Backup Reinforcers Most token economies can use naturally occurring activities and events as backup reinforcers. For example, in a classroom or school setting, tokens can be used to buy time with popular games or materials, or they can be exchanged for favorite classroom jobs such as office messenger, paper passer, teacher assistant, or media operator. Tokens can also be used for schoolwide privileges such as a library or study hall pass; a special period (e.g., physical education) with another class; or special responsibilities such as school patrol, cafeteria monitor, or tutor. Higgins and colleagues (2001) used naturally occurring activities and events as backup reinforcers for a token economy in their study (i.e., the students had access to computer games and leisure books). However, play materials, hobby-type games, snacks, television time, allowance, permission to go home or downtown, sports events, and coupons for gifts or special clothing could also be used as backup reinforcers because these objects or items tend to occur in many settings. If naturally occurring activities and events fail, then backup items not ordinarily present in a particular program can be considered (e.g., pictures of movie or sports stars, CDs or DVDs, magazines, or edibles). Such items should generally be considered only when more naturally occurring activities have proven ineffective. Using the least intrusive and most naturally occurring reinforcers is recommended. 563 Selection of backup reinforcers should follow consideration of ethical and legal issues, as well as state and local education agency policies. Token reinforcement contingencies that would deny the learner basic needs (e.g., food) or access to personal or privileged information or events (e.g., access to mail, telephone privileges, attending religious services, medical care, etc.) should not be used. Furthermore, general comforts that are associated with basic rights afforded to all citizens should not be used in a token program (e.g., clean clothing, adequate heating, ventilation, hot water). Establishing a Ratio of Exchange Initially, the ratio between the number of tokens earned and the price of backup items should be small to provide immediate success for learners. Thereafter, the ratio of exchange should be adjusted to maintain the responsiveness of the participants. Following are several general guidelines for establishing the ratio between earned tokens and the price of backup items: 1. Keep initial ratios low. 2. As token-earning behaviors and income increase, increase the cost of backup items, devalue tokens, and increase the number of backup items. 3. With increased earnings, increase the number of luxury backup items. 4. Increase the prices of necessary backup items more than those of luxury items. Myles and colleagues (1992) provided guidelines for establishing and maintaining a token economy, including the distribution and redemption of tokens. The next section addresses frequently asked questions related to tokens. What procedure will be used to dispense tokens? If objects such as tally marks or holes punched in a card are selected as the tokens, how the learner will receive them is obvious. If objects such as coupons or poker chips are used, there should be some container for storing the accumulated tokens before they are exchanged for the backup items. Some practitioners have learners construct individual folders or containers for storing their tokens. Another suggestion is to deposit the tokens through cut slots in the plastic tops of coffee cans. With younger learners tokens can be chained to form a necklace or bracelet. How will the tokens be exchanged? A menu of the backup items should be provided with a given price for Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 564 Part 10 Special Applications each item. Learners can then select from the menu. Many teachers have a table store with all the items displayed (e.g., games, balloons, toys, certificates for privileges). To avoid noise and confusion at shopping time, individual orders can be filled by writing in or checking off the items to be purchased. Those items are then placed in a bag with the order form stapled to the top and are returned to the purchaser. Initially, the store should be open frequently, perhaps twice per day. Lower functioning learners may need more frequent exchange periods. Later, exchange periods might be available only on Wednesdays and Fridays, or only on Fridays. As quickly as possible, token exchange should occur on an intermittent basis. Writing Procedures to Specify What Happens if Token Requirements Are Not Met Occasionally, token requirements will not be met for one reason or another. One approach is to nag the individual: “You didn’t do your homework. You know your homework must be completed to earn tokens. Why didn’t you do it?” A better approach is a matter-of-fact restatement of the contingency: “I’m sorry. You haven’t enough tokens to exchange at this time. Try again.” It is important to know whether the individual has the skills required to earn tokens. A learner should always be able to meet the response requirements. sponse cost should be defined and stated clearly in the rules. Learners need to be aware of what actions will result in token loss and how much the behavior will cost. The more serious the inappropriate behavior is, the greater the token loss should be. Clearly, fighting, acting out, or cheating should result in greater token loss than minor infractions (e.g., out-of-seat behavior or talk-outs). Token loss should never be applied to a behavior if the learner does not have tokens. Students should not be allowed to go into debt, which would likely decrease the reinforcement value of the tokens. A learner should always earn more tokens than she loses. Field-Testing the System The final step before actually implementing a token system is to field-test it. For 3 to 5 days token delivery is tallied exactly as if tokens were being earned, but no tokens are actually awarded during the field test. Data from the field test are used for assessment. Are learners actually deficient in the targeted skills? Are some learners demonstrating mastery of behaviors targeted for intervention? Are some learners not receiving tokens? Based on answers to questions such as these, final adjustments in the system can be made. For some learners, more difficult behaviors may need to be defined; others may need less demanding target behaviors. Perhaps more or fewer tokens need to be delivered relative to the price of the backup reinforcers. What Should Be Done When a Learner Tests the System? How should a practitioner respond when a learner says she doesn’t want any tokens or backup items? One approach is to argue, debate, or cajole the learner. A better approach is to say something neutral (e.g., “That is your decision”) and then walk away, precluding any argument or debate. In this way a confrontation is avoided, and the occasion remains set for token delivery for the learner. Most learners can and should have input in selecting the backup items, generating the rules for the economy, establishing the price for the backup items, and performing general duties in managing the system. A learner can be a salesperson for the store or a bookkeeper to record who has how many tokens and what items are purchased. When learners are involved and their responsibilities for the economy are emphasized, they are less likely to test the system. with a token economy were presented in Chapter 15. Most token economies do include a token loss contingency for inappropriate behaviors and rule infractions (Musser et al., 2001). Any behaviors subject to re- The manner in which initial training is conducted to implement a token economy depends on the functioning level of the learners. For high-functioning learners and those with mild disabilities, initial training might require minimal time and effort and consist primarily of verbal instructions or modeling. Usually the initial token training for these individuals can be accomplished in one 30to 60-minute session. Three steps are normally sufficient. First, an example of the system should be given. The practitioner might describe the system as follows: This is a token and you can earn it by [specify behavior]. I will watch your behavior; and when you accomplish [specify behavior], you will earn a token. Also, as you continue [specify behavior], you will earn more tokens. At [specify time period] you will be able to exchange the tokens you have earned for whatever you want and can afford on this table. Each item is marked with the number of tokens needed for purchase. You can spend only the tokens you have earned. If you want an Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Will the Token Economy Include a Response Cost Procedure? Procedures for including response cost Implementing a Token Economy Initial Token Training Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies item that requires more tokens than you have earned, you will have to save your tokens over several [specify time period]. The second step is to model the procedure for token delivery. For instance, each learner might be directed to emit the specified behavior. Immediately following the occurrence of the behavior, the learner should be praised (e.g., “Enrique, I’m pleased to see how well you are working by yourself!”) and the token delivered. The third step is to model the procedure for token exchange. Learners should be taken to the store and shown the items for purchase. All learners should already have one token, which was acquired during the modeling of token delivery. At this time, several items should be able to be purchased for one token (the price may go up later)—a game, 5 minutes of free time, a pencil-sharpening certificate, or teacher helper privilege. Students should actually use their tokens in this exchange. Lower functioning learners may require several sessions of initial token training before the system is functional for them. Further response prompts may be needed. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Ongoing Token Training During token reinforcement training, the practitioner and the students should follow the guidelines for effective use of reinforcement (see Chapter 11). For example, tokens should be dispensed contingently and immediately after the occurrence of the desired behavior. Procedures for delivery and exchange should be clear and should be followed consistently. If a booster session is needed to improve student understanding of how tokens are earned and exchanged, practitioners should do so early in the program. Finally, the focus should be on building and increasing desirable behaviors through token delivery rather than decreasing undesirable behaviors through response cost. As part of the overall training, the behavior analyst may choose to take part in the token economy as well. For example, the analyst could pinpoint a personal behavior to be increased and then model how to act if her performance of that behavior does not meet the criterion to earn a token, how to save tokens, and how to keep track of progress. After 2 to 3 weeks, a revision in the token economy system may be needed. It is usually desirable to have learners discuss behaviors they want to change, the backup items they would like to have available, or the schedule of exchange. If some participants rarely earn tokens, a simpler response or prerequisite skill may be necessary. On the other hand, if some participants always earn all possible tokens, requirements may need to be changed to a more complex skill. 565 Management Issues During Implementation Students must be taught how to manage the tokens they earn. For instance, once received, tokens should be placed in a safe, but accessible container so that they are out of the way, but readily available when needed. If the tokens are in clear view and readily accessible, some students might play with them at the expense of performing academic tasks assigned by the teacher. Also, placing the tokens in a secure location reduces the risk of other students counterfeiting or stealing them. Preemptive measures should be taken to ensure that tokens are not easily counterfeited or reachable by anyone other than the recipient. If counterfeiting or stealing occurs, switching to different tokens will help reduce the likelihood of these tokens being exchanged under false pretenses. Another management issue, however, relates to students’ token inventories. Some students may hoard their tokens and not exchange them for backup reinforcers. Other students may try to exchange their tokens for a backup reinforcer, but they lack the requisite number of tokens to do so. Both extremes should be discouraged. That is, students should be required to exchange at least some of their earned tokens periodically, and students without the requisite number of tokens should not be permitted to participate in an exchange. That is, they should not be permitted to buy backup reinforcers on credit. A final management issue relates to chronic rule breakers or students who test the system at every turn. Practitioners can minimize this situation by (a) ensuring that the token does serve as a generalized conditioned reinforcer, (b) conducting a reinforcer assessment to determine that the backup reinforces are preferred by the students and function as reinforcers, and (c) applying response cost procedures for chronic rule breakers. Withdrawing the Token Economy Strategies for promoting generalization and maintenance of target behaviors to settings in which a token or level system is not used should be considered in the design and implementation of a token or level system. Before applying the initial token program, analysts should plan how they will remove the program. One goal of the token program should be to have the descriptive verbal praise that is delivered simultaneously with the token acquire the reinforcing capability of the token. From the beginning, a systematic goal of the token economy should be to withdraw the program. Such an approach, aside from having functional utility for practitioners (i.e., they will not have to issue tokens forever), also has advantages for the learner. For example, if a special education teacher is using a token economy with a student scheduled for Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 566 Part 10 Special Applications • Learners earn physical tokens such as poker chips or washers. • The physical tokens are replaced with slips of paper. • The slips of paper are replaced with tally marks on an index card that is kept by the learners. • In a school setting the index card can now be taped to the learner’s desk. • The index card is removed from the learner and is kept by the analyst, but participants can check their balance at any time. • The analyst keeps tallies, but no checking is allowed during the day. Totals are announced at the end of the day, and then every other day. • The token system is no longer operative. The behavior analyst does not announce point totals even though they are still kept. Evaluating the Token Economy Token economies can be evaluated using any number of reliable, valid, field-tested, best practice designs. Given that most token economy programs are conducted with small groups, we recommend that single-subject evaluation designs be used such that the participant serves as his or her own control. Further, we suggest that social validation data on the target participants and significant others who come into contact with the person be collected before, during, and after token intervention. Reasons for the Effectiveness of the Token Economy A token economy is often effective in applied settings for three reasons. First, tokens bridge the time gap between the occurrence of a behavior and delivery of a backup reinforcer. For example, a token may be earned during the afternoon, but the backup reinforcer is not awarded until the next morning. Second, tokens bridge the setting gap between the behavior and the delivery of the backup reinforcer. For instance, tokens earned at school could be exchanged for reinforcers at home, or tokens earned in a general education classroom in the morning could be exchanged in a special education classroom in the afternoon. Finally, as generalized conditioned reinforcers, tokens make the management of motivation less critical for the behavior analyst. Further Considerations Intrusive. Token systems can be intrusive. It takes time, energy, and resources to establish, implement, and evaluate token programs. Also, because most natural Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X full-time placement in a regular fourth grade classroom, the teacher wants to be certain that the student’s responses can be maintained in the absence of the token economy. It is unlikely that the student would encounter a similar token system in the general education classroom. Various methods have been used to withdraw token reinforcers gradually after criterion levels of behavior have been reached. The following six guidelines allow the practitioner to develop, and later withdraw, token reinforcers effectively. First, the token presentation should always be paired with social approval and verbal praise. This should increase the reinforcing effect of the social approval and serve to maintain behaviors after token withdrawal. Second, the number of responses required to earn a token should be gradually increased. For instance, if a student receives a token initially after reading only one page, he should be required to read more pages later for token delivery. Third, the duration the token economy is in effect should be gradually decreased. For example, during September the system might be in effect all day; in October the time might be 8:30 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.; and in November, 8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. In December the times might be the same as those in November, but on only 4 days a week, and so on. Fourth, the number of activities and privileges that serve as backup items and are likely to be found in the untrained setting should be increased gradually. For example, the analyst should start taking away tangible items in the store that might not be present in the regular classroom. Are edibles available at the store? They are usually not available for reinforcement in regular classrooms. Gradually, items should be introduced that would be common in a regular class (e.g., special award sheets, gold stars, positive notes home). Fifth, the price of more desirable items should be increased systematically while keeping a very low price on less desirable items for exchange. For example, in a token system with adolescent girls with moderate to severe mental retardation, the price of candy bars and trips to the canteen and grooming aids (e.g., comb, deodorant) was initially about the same. Slowly, the cost of items such as candy bars was increased to such a high level that the girls no longer saved tokens to purchase them. More girls used their tokens to purchase grooming aids, which cost substantially less than candy. Sixth, the physical evidence of the token should be faded over time. The following sequence illustrates how the physical evidence of the token can be faded. Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies environments do not reinforce a person’s behavior with tokens, careful thought must be given to how to thin the token schedule while simultaneously maintaining performance. In any case, token economy programs can have lots of “moving parts,” and practitioners must be prepared to deal with them. Self-Perpetuating. A token economy can be an effective procedure for managing behavior, and analysts can be so encouraged by the results that they do not want to remove the system. Learners then continue working for reinforcement that is not normally available in the natural environment. Cumbersome. Token economies can be cumbersome to implement, especially if there are multiple participants with multiple schedules of reinforcement. The system may require additional time and effort from the learner and the behavior analyst. Federal Mandates. When tokens are introduced within the context of a level system, practitioners should exercise caution that the explicit and uniform requirements for students to earn a specific number of tokens before progressing to the next level does not violate the spirit or intent of federal mandates that call for individualized programs. Scheuermann and Webber (1996) suggested that tokens and other programs embedded within level systems be individualized and that self-management techniques be combined with the level system to increase the likelihood of a successful inclusion program. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Group Contingencies Thus far in the text we have focused primarily on how contingencies of reinforcement can be applied to change the future frequency of certain behaviors of individual persons. Applied research has also demonstrated how contingencies can be applied to groups, and behavior analysts have increasingly turned their attention toward group contingencies in areas such as leisure activities for adults (Davis & Chittum, 1994), schoolwide applications (Skinner, Skinner, Skinner, & Cashwell, 1999), classrooms (Brantley & Webster, 1993; Kelshaw-Levering, Sterling-Turner, Henry, & Skinner, 2000; Skinner, Cashwell, & Skinner, 2000), and playgrounds (Lewis, Powers, Kelk, & Newcomer, 2002). Each of these applications has shown that group contingencies, properly managed, can be an effective and practical approach to changing 567 the behavior of many people simultaneously (Stage & Quiroz, 1997). Definition of a Group Contingency A group contingency is one in which a common consequence (usually, but not necessarily, a reward intended to function as reinforcement) is contingent on the behavior of one member of the group, the behavior of part of the group, or the behavior of everyone in the group. Group contingencies can be classified as dependent, independent, or interdependent (Litow & Pumroy, 1975). Rationale for and Advantages of Group Contingency There are a number of reasons for using a group contingency in applied settings. First, it can save time during administration (Skinner, Skinner, Skinner, & Cashwell, 1999). Instead of repeatedly administering a consequence to each member of a group, the practitioner can apply one consequence to all members of the group. From a logistical perspective, a practitioner’s workload may be reduced. Group contingencies have been demonstrated to be effective in producing behavior change (Brantley & Webster, 1993). A group contingency can be effective and economical, requiring fewer practitioners or less time to implement. Another advantage is that a practitioner can use a group contingency in a situation in which an individual contingency is impractical. For example, a teacher attempting to reduce disruptive behaviors of several students might have difficulty administering an individual program for each pupil in the classroom. A substitute teacher, in particular, might find the use of a group contingency a practical alternative because her knowledge of the students’ previous histories of reinforcement would be limited, and the group contingency could be applied across a variety of behaviors, settings, or students. A group contingency can also be used in cases in which the practitioner must resolve a problem quickly, as when serious disruptive behavior occurs. The practitioner might be interested not only in decreasing the disruptive behavior rapidly, but also in building improved levels of appropriate behavior (Skinner et al., 2000). Furthermore, a practitioner can use a group contingency to capitalize on peer influence or peer monitoring because this type of contingency sets the occasion for peers to act as change agents (Gable, Arllen, & Hendrickson, 1994; Skinner et al., 1999). Admittedly, peer Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 568 Part 10 Special Applications pressure can have a detrimental effect on some people; they may become scapegoats, and negative effects may surface (Romeo, 1998). However, potentially harmful or negative outcomes can be minimized by structuring the contingency elements randomly (Kelshaw-Levering et al., 2000; Poplin & Skinner, 2003). Practitioners can establish a group contingency to facilitate positive social interactions and positive behavioral supports within the group (Kohler, Strain, Maretsky, & DeCesare, 1990). For example, a teacher might establish a group contingency for a student or a group of students with disabilities. The students with disabilities might be integrated into the general education classroom, and a contingency could be arranged in such a way that the class would be awarded free time contingent on the performance of one or more of the students with disabilities. Independent Group Contingency Applications An independent group contingency is an arrangement in which a contingency is presented to all members of a group, but reinforcement is delivered only to those group members who meet the criterion outlined in the contingency (see Figure 26.9) Independent group contingencies are frequently combined with contingency contracting and token reinforcement programs because these programs usually establish reinforcement schedules independent of the performance of other members of the group. Brantley and Webster (1993) used an independent group contingency in a general education classroom to decrease the disruptive behavior of 25 fourth-grade students. After collecting data on off-task behavior, call-outs, and out-of-seat behavior, the teachers posted rules related to paying attention, seeking the teachers’ permission before talking, and remaining in their seats. An independent group contingency was established whereby each student could earn a check mark next to his or her name on a list that was posted publicly in the room during any of the intervals that marked the observation periods during the day. When a student emitted an appropriate or prosocial behavior, a check mark was registered. The criterion for earning a reward was increased from four to six check marks over 4 out of 5 days per week. Results showed that after 8 weeks, the total number of combined disruptions (e.g., off-task behavior, callouts, and out-of-seat behavior) decreased by over 70%, and some off-task behaviors (e.g., not keeping hands to self) were eliminated completely. The teacher’s satisfaction with the approach was positive, and parents reported that they were able to understand the procedures that were in place for their children at school. Brantley and Webster (1993) concluded: The independent contingency added structure for students by using clear time intervals and clarified teacher expectations by limiting and operationally defining rules to be followed, monitoring behavior consistently, and setting attainable criteria for students. (p. 65) Dependent Group Contingency Applications Under a dependent group contingency the reward for the whole group is dependent on the performance of an individual student or small group. Figure 26.10 illustrates the dependent group contingency as a threeterm contingency. The contingency operates like this: If an individual (or small group within the total group) performs a behavior to a specific criterion, the group shares the reinforcer. The group’s access to the reward depends on the individual’s (or small group’s) performance. If the individual performs below the criterion, the reward is not delivered. When an individual, or small group, earns a reward for a class, the contingency is sometimes referred to as the hero procedure. A Criterion stated for one individual or small group* bonus Criterion met C SR+ for whole group *(E.g., “When all students at Table 2 finish their math assignments, the class will have 5 minutes of free time.”) Figure 26.10 A dependent group contingency. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Figure 26.9 An independent group contingency. B Chapter 26 Contingency Contracting, Token Economy, and Group Contingencies According to Kerr and Nelson (2002), the hero procedure can facilitate positive interactions among students because the class as a whole benefits from the improved behavior of the student targeted for the group contingency. Gresham (1983) conducted a dependent group contingency study in which the contingency was applied at home, but the reward was delivered at school. In this study an 8-year-old boy who was highly destructive at home (e.g., set fires, destroyed furniture) earned good notes for nondestructive behavior at home. Billy received a good note—a daily report card—each day that no destructive acts took place. Each note was exchangeable for juice, recess, and five tokens at school the next day. After Billy received five good notes, the whole class received a party, and Billy served as the host. Gresham reported that the dependent group contingency reduced the amount of destructive behavior and represented the first application of a dependent group contingency in a combined home–school setting. Allen, Gottselig, and Boylan (1982) used an interesting variation of the dependent group contingency. In their study eight disruptive third-graders from a class of 29 students served as target students. On the first day of intervention the teacher posted and explained classroom rules for hand raising, leaving a seat, disturbing others, and getting help. Contingent on reduced amounts of disruptive behavior during 5-minute intervals in math and language arts, the class earned 1 extra minute of recess time. If a disruptive behavior occurred during the 5-minute interval, the teacher cited the disrupter for the infraction (e.g., “James, you disturbed Sue”) and reset the timer for another 5-minute interval. The teacher also posted the accumulated time on an easel in full view of the class. The results indicated that reduced disruptive behavior occurred under the dependent group contingency. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Interdependent Group Contingencies An interdependent group contingency is one in which all members of a group must meet the criterion of the contingency (individually and as a group) before any member earns the reward (Elliot, Busse, & Shapiro, 1999; Kelshaw-Levering et al., 2000; Lewis et al., 2002; Skinner et al., 1999; Skinner et al., 2000). Theoretically, interdependent group contingencies have a value-added advantage over dependent and independent group contingencies insofar as they yoke students to achieve a common goal, thereby capitalizing on peer pressure and group cohesiveness. 569 A B C Criterion stated for all group members* Criterion met SR+ for whole group if all members of the group achieve criterion *(E.g., "Each student must complete at least four science projects by the 6th week in the term in order for the class to go on the field trip.") Figure 26.11 An interdependent group contingency. The effectiveness of dependent and interdependent group contingencies may be enhanced by randomly arranging some or all of the components of the contingency (Poplin & Skinner, 2003). That is, randomly selected students, behaviors, or reinforcers are targeted for the contingency (Kelshaw-Levering et al., 2000; Skinner et al., 1999). Kelshaw-Levering and colleagues (2000) demonstrated that randomizing either the reward alone or multiple components of the contingency (e.g., students, behaviors, or reinforcers) was effective in reducing disruptive behavior. Procedurally, an interdependent group contingency can be delivered (a) when the group as a whole meets the criterion, (b) when the group achieves a mean group score, or (c) based on the results of the Good Behavior Game or the Good Student Game. In any case, interdependent group contingencies represent an “all or none” arrangement. That is, all students earn the reward or none of them do (Poplin & Skinner, 2003). Figure 26.11 illustrates the interdependent group contingency as a threeterm contingency. Total Group Meets Criterion Lewis and colleagues (2002) used the total group meets criterion variation to reduce the problem playground behaviors of students enrolled in a suburban elementary school. After a faculty team conducted an assessment of problematic playground behaviors, social skill instruction in the classroom and on the playground was coupled with a group contingency. During social skills instruction, students learned how to get along with friends, cooperate with each other, and be kind. During the group contingency, students earned elastic loops that they could affix to their wrists. After recess, students placed the loops in a can on the teacher’s desk. When the can was full, the group earned a reinforcer. Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. 570 Part 10 Special Applications 60 Baseline Intervention 50 40 30 Recess 1 20 10 Figure 26.12 Frequency of problem behaviors across recess periods. Recess 1 was composed of second- and fourth-grade students, Recess 2 was composed of first- and third-grade students, and Recess 3 was composed of fifth- and sixth-grade students. Kindergarten students were on the playground across Recess 1 and 2. Frequency of Problem Behavior 0 From “Reducing Problem Behaviors on the Playground: An Investigation of the Application of School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports” by T. J. Lewis, L. J. Powers, M. J. Kelk, and L. L. Newcomer, 2002, Psychology in the Schools, 39 (2), p. 186. Copyright 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Figure 26.12 shows the results of the social skills plus group contingency intervention across three recess periods during the day. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 60 50 Recess 2 40 30 20 10 0 60 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 50 Recess 3 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Daily Sessions participated and received extra recess time during the course of the study. Good Behavior Game Group Averaging Barrish, Saunders, and Wolf (1969) used the Good Behavior Game to describe an interdependent group contingency in which a group is divided into two or more teams. Prior to the game being played, the teams are told that whichever team has the fewest marks against it at the end of the game will earn a privilege. Each team is also told that it can win a privilege if it has fewer than a specified number of marks (a DRL schedule). Data reported by the authors show that this strategy can be an effective method of reducing disruptive behavior in the classroom. When game conditions were in effect during math or reading, talkingout and out-of-seat behaviors occurred at low levels. When game conditions were not in effect, disruptive behaviors occurred at much higher levels (see Figure 26.13). In the Good Behavior Game teacher attention is directed toward observing and recording occurrences of Applied Behavior Analysis, Second Edition, by John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, and William L. Heward. Published by Merrill Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 1-256-93044-X Baer and Richards (1980) used a group averaging interdependent group contingency to improve the math and English performance of 5 elementary-aged students. In their study all of the students in a class of 10, including the 5 target students, were told that they would earn 1 extra minute of recess for each point of class improvement beyond the previous weekly average. Also, all students were given a contract stating this same contingency. The extra recess was awarded every day of the following week. For example, if the students’ weekly averages exceeded their previous weekly averages by 3 points, they would receiv...
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