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Noncontingent reinforcement competes with response performance.

J Exp Anal Behav. 2017 May;107(3):343-353

Authors: Kelley ME, Nadler CB, Rey C, Cowie S, Podlesnik CA

Noncontingent reinforcement is a commonly used procedure to decrease levels of problem behavior. Goals of this intervention are to decrease motivation, responding, and the functional relation between behavior and consequences, but it could also possibly compete with performance of alternative desirable responses. In the current study, we assessed the effects of noncontingent reinforcement arranged from 0% to 100% of sessions on performance of alternative responding across two experiments. Experiment 1 assessed manding (i.e., requests) maintained by attention and tangibles with a child with developmental disabilities and Experiment 2 assessed keypecking maintained by food with six pigeons. We extended previous research by (a) showing that noncontingent reinforcement competes with both the acquisition and maintenance (performance) of an alternative response, (b) extending the generality of the findings across nonhuman and human participants, and (c) eliminating influence of sequence effects through random manipulations of noncontingent value in pigeons. Overall, greater amounts of noncontingent reinforcement competed with both acquisition and maintenance of alternative responding.

PMID: 28453222 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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