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Shown on an overhead and worked through in class:

(Adapted from information from Zeilberger, J., Sampen, S., & Sloan, H. (1968). Modification of a child's problem behaviors in the home with the mother as therapist. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 47-53.)

To demonstrate the effectiveness of a (primary caregiver) as a therapist, the psychologists first observed the child's (Rorey B.'s) behavior for a period of time-- a baseline. The mother was then instructed on how to carry out a behavioral contingency management program.

Rorey B. was a preschool child (4 years old) of average intelligence who was a "behavior problem." He screamed, fought, disobeyed, and bossed others both at home and at school. His parents were concerned over his obviously undesirable behavior, that they expected to get even worse as he got older. "He continually told other children what to do and how to play, and enforced his demands with punches, kicks, and slaps."

During the baseline observation, it was found that when he acted aggressively or disobediently, Mrs. B. would give him extra attention (even though it would be in the form of a reprimand). It was also noticed that she did not program consequences in a consistent manner-- sometimes ignoring his actions for a long time, sometimes responding immediately, sometimes trying to distract him, sometimes trying to punish him.

It seemed that much of his behavior was done to gain attention. Some of it, though, was harmful to others (esp. other children).

Give examples of each (positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and response cost) that could be used to alter Rorey's behavior:

Positive reinforcement: Whenever he is being good, cooperative, solves things non-aggressively, immediately reward those behaviors with praise, attention, goodies.

Punishment: If acting aggressively, give immediate, undesired consequence (send to corner; say "NO!" and couple with response cost.

Response cost: Most common would be "time-out." Removing sources of attention by placing in an environment without other people. Careful: This can become (aversive) punishment, depending on how done. To be response cost, it can only simply be taking away a desirable thing; not adding a negative one.

Negative reinforcement: One example would be to couple negative reinforcement with response cost-- after some period of time in which he has acted cooperatively or calmly while in the absence of others, can bring him back with others. Thus, taking away the isolation should reinforce the desired behavior (being cooperative).

Extinction: Simply ignoring behaviors should lead to extinction. Note that initially when ignored, can expect an initial increase in the behavior -- a very trying time in situations such as Rorey's.

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