SPED 8013 | Chapter 22: Differential Reinforcement

Basic Description of Differential Reinforcement

  • All applications of differential reinforcement entail reinforcing one response class and withholding reinforcement for another response class
  • When used as a reductive procedure:
    • Providing reinforcement for either the occurrence of a behavior other than the problem behavior or a reduced rate
    • Withholding reinforcement as much as possible for the problem behavior

 Forms of Differential Reinforcement

  • For decreasing behavior:
    • DRI
    • DRA
    • DRO
    • DRL

Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior

    • Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI)
      • Practitioner reinforces a behavior that cannot occur simultaneously with the problem behavior and withholds reinforcement following any instances of the problem behavior
      • Behavior that gets reinforced and the one placed on extinction are mutually exclusive

Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior

  • Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA)
    • Practitioner reinforces occurrences of a behavior that provides a desirable alternative to the problem behavior but is not necessarily incompatible with it
    • NOT topographically incompatible with the target behavior (both can occur at the same time)

Guidelines for Using DRI/DRA

  • Select incompatible/alternative behavior
    • Behavior should already exist in learner’s current repertoire
    • Behavior should require equal (or less) effort than the problem behavior
    • Behavior should already be emitted at a rate that provides sufficient opportunity for reinforcement
    • Behavior should be likely to be reinforced in the natural environment
  • Select reinforcers that are powerful and can be delivered consistently
    • Don’t assume something will function as a reinforcer
    • Consider motivating operations
    • Same consequence maintaining problem behavior is often effective
    • Consistency is key!
  • Reinforce incompatible/alternative behavior immediately and consistently
    • Use a CRF schedule initially
    • Gradually thin once incompatible/alternative behavior is firmly established
  • Withhold reinforcement for the problem behavior
    • Maximizing the difference between rates of reinforcement entails withholding all reinforcement for the problem behavior
    • In an ideal world:
      • Alternative/Incompatible = ALWAYS
      • Problem = NEVER
  • Combine DRI/DRA with other procedures
    • DRI/DRA do not specifically provide consequences for problem behavior
    • Not to be used alone with behavior that is destructive, dangerous, or interferes with health and safety

Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior

  • Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO)
    • A practitioner delivers a reinforcer whenever the problem behavior has not occurred during or at specific times
    • Reinforcement is contingent on the absence or omission of target behavior
      • Differential reinforcement of zero responding
      • Omission training

Four Basic DRO Arrangements

  • Fixed-Interval DRO (FI-DRO)
    • A practitioner establishes an interval of time
    • Delivers reinforcement at the end of that time interval if the problem behavior did not occur during the interval
    • Upon any occurrence of the problem behavior, immediately resets the timer to begin a new interval
    • Interval can be increased as behavior improves
  • Variable-Interval DRO (VI-DRO)
    • Reinforcement is delivered contingent on the absence of the targeted problem behavior during intervals of varying and unpredictable durations
  • Fixed-Momentary DRO (FM-DRO)
    • Same as Fixed-Interval DRO, except reinforcement is contingent on the absence of the problem behavior only when the interval ends, rather than throughout the entire interval
  • Variable-Momentary DRO (VM-DRO)
    • Same as Variable-Interval DRO, except reinforcement is contingent on the absence of the problem behavior only when the interval ends, rather than throughout the entire interval

Guidelines for Using DRO

  • Recognize the limitations of DRO
    • Does not account for all inappropriate behavior
    • Momentary does not account for behavior that occurs at other times
  • Set initial DRO intervals that assure frequent reinforcement
    • Begin with an interval that is equal to or slightly less than the mean baseline inter-response time (IRT)
    • Time/responses = mean IRT
  • Do not inadvertently reinforce other undesirable behaviors
    • Deliver reinforcement at the intervals or moments in time specified by the schedule contingent on the absence of the problem behavior and the absence of any other significant inappropriate behaviors
  • Gradually increase the DRO interval
    • Increase the interval through a series of initially small and gradual increasing increments
    • Three procedures
      • Increase by constant duration
      • Increase proportionally
      • Change based on learner’s performance
  • Extend the application of DRO to other settings and times of day
    • Have teachers, parent, or other caregivers begin to deliver reinforcement
    • Extend to other environments
  • Combine DRO with other procedures
    • Treatment package can yield more efficient and effective behavior change
    • Can be a supplement to an intervention that has produced insufficient results

Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates of Behavior

  • Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates of Responding (DRL)
    • Delivering a reinforcer following a response that is preceded by increasingly longer intervals of time without a response
    • Reinforcement is delivered following the occurrence of a target behavior
    • Used for decreasing rate of responding when total elimination is not desired or necessary

Three DRL Procedures

  • Full-Session DRL
    • Reinforcement is delivered at the end of the session if, during the entire session, the target behavior occurred at or below a given criterion
  • Interval DRL
    • Total session is divided into a series of equal intervals; reinforcement is provided at the end of each interval in which the target behavior occurred at or below a given criterion
    • Exceeding criterion results in immediate reset
    • Requires continuous monitoring, careful timing, and frequent reinforcement
  • Spaced-Responding DRL
    • Reinforcement is delivered following the occurrence of a response that is separated by at least a minimum amount of time from the previous response
    • When reinforcement is contingent on increasingly longer IRTs, response rate will decrease
    • Not likely to completely eliminate behavior in question levitra generico preço

Guidelines for Using DRL

  • Recognize the limitations of DRL
    • Not likely to result in quick reduction
    • Not advisable with dangerous behavior
    • By definition draws focus to the inappropriate behavior
  • Choose the most appropriate DRL procedure
    • Full-session or interval DRL when complete elimination is acceptable or desired
    • Spaced-responding DRL when lower rates of responding is terminal objective
    • Spaced-responding and interval provide more frequent reinforcement, critical for learners with severe problem behaviors
  • Use baseline data to guide the selection of the initial response or IRT limits
    • Use mean number of responses emitted during baseline sessions, or slightly lower than that average, for full-session DRL
    • Use mean IRT for setting interval and spaced-responding DRL
      • 1 response per 15 minutes:
        • Interval = 15 minute intervals with 1 or less responses
        • Spaced-responding = 15 minute IRT or greater for reinforcement
  • Gradually think the DRL schedule
    • Full-session: Set based on current performance, or slightly less than the mean emitted during recent sessions
    • Interval: Gradually decrease allowed responses or increase interval
    • Spaced-responding: Adjust IRT based on mean IRT of recent sessions
  • Provide feedback to the learner
    • Can enhance effectiveness
    • Spaced-responding provides most accurate feedback
    • Interval provides a high level of feedback as well
    • Full-session with or without feedback
      • With feedback may yield more effective learning, but may result in high rates of misbehavior once criterion is exceeded