UBC Theses and Dissertations
The effect of schedules of reinforcement on the force and rate of responses during extinction. Flores, Ofelia Margarit
Approximately 30 to 40% of individuals diagnosed with autism display problem behaviour (i.e., aggressive behaviour, SIB, property destruction). Problem behaviour is socially stigmatizing and generally a predictor of a poor quality of life. Although force is a defining aspect of problem behaviour, rate is the most frequent measure during behavioural assessment and treatment. With the purpose of examining the influence of schedules of reinforcement on the force and rate of the response during extinction, I conducted two experiments in three individuals diagnosed with autism. Using a reversal design, one participant was exposed to VR5 followed by EXT (Experiment 1); and two participants were exposed to a sequence of VR5+CRF followed by EXT (Experiment 2). Findings of Experiment 1 in Participant 2 showed no clear functional relations between VR5 and the level, trend and variability of force of response during EXT. However, a functional was demonstrated between VR5 and the level, trend and variability of rate of response during EXT. Findings of Experiment 2 in Participant 3 evidenced functional relations between a VR5 + CRF schedule of reinforcement and the level, trend and variability of force and rate of the response during EXT. Participant 4 evidenced a functional relations between VR5 + CRF a decrease in trend, and an increase in variability of force during EXT. In summary, Results across the three participants demonstrated a systematic variance between schedules of reinforcement operating prior to extinction and changes in level, trend, and/or variability in force and rate of the response. Results suggest that force and rate, as a result of the introduction of one or two schedules of reinforcement, varied systematically but differently for each individual. I suggest that clinicians should include a measure of force in addition to rate during the assessment and treatment of problem behaviour. Further research is needed to increase the generality of these results.
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