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Considering effective reinforcement in a token economy

Rachel Turner

ABSTRACT: This case study discusses considerations for unwanted side effects of reinforcement within the context of a plan where a token is delivered to the pupil each day based on absence of behaviours that challenge. This token links to a cumulative reinforcement schedule where the magnitude of reinforcement increases according to the number of tokens received across the school week. The first change was to ensure reinforcement was not set so high that withholding reinforcement when unsuccessful evoked challenging behaviour. The second change was to ensure that it was targeted behaviour that reset reinforcement levels rather than the day of the week. These changes appear to have been effective in reducing levels of challenging behaviour in both frequency and duration.

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