Extinction refers to the process of discontinuing the reinforcer that historically follows a behavior (Cooper et al. 2007).
In operant psychology, behavior is influenced by both the stimuli that occur prior to and following it. The stimuli that follow behaviors are consequences. Consequences influence behavior in three ways – consequences can increase (strength rate, frequency, etc.), decrease, or have no influence on strength. A reinforcing consequence results in an increased strength (or frequency or rate) of that behavior. Similar to the presentation of a reinforcer strengthening a behavior, removal of the reinforcer (or preventing it from occurring) that follows a behavior will have a weakening effect on that behavior; it will reduce in strength (or frequency or rate).
Historically, the treatment of challenging behaviors that interfere with developing independence or adaptive skills has focused on the application of punitive consequences that reduce...
References and Readings
- Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar