Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 135-148

First online:

The Effect of Noncontingent Positive Versus Negative Reinforcement on Multiply Controlled Behavior During Discrete Trial Training

  • Mandy RispoliAffiliated withTexas A & M University Email author 
  • , Jennifer GanzAffiliated withTexas A & M University
  • , Leslie NeelyAffiliated withTexas A & M University
  • , Fara GoodwynAffiliated withTexas A & M University

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Challenging behaviors with multiple functions are often difficult to treat as function-based treatments may interfere with one another. Noncontingent reinforcement may be one efficient and effective means of treating multiply controlled behavior. The purposes of this study were to compare the use of noncontingent tangible reinforcement (NCT) to noncontingent escape (NCE) with two young children with autism who engaged in multiply controlled challenging behavior. Second, we wished to examine the effect of NCT and NCE on compliance during discrete trial training. A reversal design with an embedded alternating treatment design was used to compare NCT and NCE. The NCT treatment resulted in greater reductions of challenging behavior than the NCE treatment for both participants. Compliance during discrete trial training increased under both NCT and NCE treatments.


Challenging behavior Discrete trial training Multiple functions Noncontingent reinforcement