Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Establishing Operations

  • Susan A. Mason
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1107-3


Establishing operations (EOs) are “events that alter the value of a reinforcer” (Michael 1982). EOs are sometimes called motivating operations (see MOs) (Vargas 2009). EOs can be conditioned or unconditioned. They may exist in many forms and often are reliant on states of deprivation; however, it is important to note that just as deprivation is experienced throughout the day, aversive stimulation is also common in our environment. Vargas (2009) noted, “Aversive situations are establishing operations for avoidance/escape behaviors.” Another form of establishing operation is known as “value altering.” In this situation, a stimulus or set of stimuli function to make the reinforcer more reinforcing. For example, effective advertising increases the desire to have the product being advertised; advertising is not reliant on a state of deprivation, and in a sense, it may create an aversive situation if everyone else has the item that is advertised and the person who does not have...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Services for Students with Autism Spectrum DisordersMontgomery County Public SchoolsSilver SpringUSA