The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 131–136 | Cite as

Increased Variability in Tacting Under a Lag 3 Schedule of Reinforcement

  • Juliane Heldt
  • Henry D. SchlingerJr.


Research has shown that variability may be an operant dimension of behavior. One method of reinforcing response variability is to use a lag schedule of reinforcement (Page & Neuringer, 1985). Several studies have shown that a Lag 1 schedule is effective in increasing variable responding with human participants (e.g., Esch, Esch, & Love, 2009; Lee, McComas, & Jawor, 2002). In these arrangements, however, the return to baseline responding during reversal phases suggests that the resulting behavior change may not be maintained following intervention. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of a Lag 3 schedule on increasing and maintaining variability of tacts in 2 children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Results demonstrated increased variability in tacting for both participants and maintenance in variable responding after a 3-week follow-up.

Key words

Extinction lag schedule response variability 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Psychiatrie Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Revised 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. DeLeon, I. G., & Iwata, B. A. (1996). Evaluation of a multiple stimulus presentation format for assessing reinforcer preferences. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 519–533.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Esch, J. W., Esch, B. E., & Love, J. R. (2009). Increasing vocal variability in children with autism using a lag schedule of reinforcement. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 25, 73–78.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Goetz, E. M., & Baer, D. M. (1973). Social control of form diversity and the emergence of new forms in children’s block-building. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 6(2), 209–217.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Lee, R., McComas, J. J., & Jawor, J. (2002). The effects of differential and lag reinforcement schedules on varied verbal responding by individuals with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(4), 391–402.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Machado, A. (1992). Behavioral variability and frequency-dependent selection. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 58(2), 241–263.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Manabe, K., Staddon, J. E. R., & Cleaveland, J. M. (1997). Control of vocal repertoire by reward in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 111, 50–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Miller, N., & Neuringer, A. (2000). Reinforcing variability in adolescents with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33(2), 151–165.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Page, S., & Neuringer, A. (1985). Variability is an operant. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 11, 429–452.Google Scholar
  10. Partington, J. W. (2008). The assessment of basic language and learning skills: ABLLS-R Protocol. Pleasant Hill, CA: Behavior Analysts.Google Scholar
  11. Susa, C. L., & Schlinger, H. D. (2012). Using a lag schedule to increase variability of verbal responding in an individual with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 28, 125–130.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations