Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The resurgence of a previously extinguished response can be an undesired result when implementing behavioral interventions in applied settings. Many behavioral interventions are based on differential reinforcement procedures where reinforcement is withheld for engaging in aberrant behavior (extinction), and reinforcement delivery is instead implemented as a programmedconsequence an appropriate alternative behavior. Reinforcement may become unavailable for engaging in appropriate behavior due to unintentional lapses in procedural fidelity or the removal or thinning of the alternative reinforcement schedule. This study investigated one possibility for reducing the probability of resurgence, or the extent to which a response resurges, in the event a behavioral intervention is removed or compromised. A punishment procedure was superimposed on a differential reinforcement schedule in laboratory rats to determine to what extent the previously extinguished behavior resurged. The resurgence patterns in the experimental group were compared to a control group that experienced without punishment. The data indicate that the addition of concurrent punishment to the alternative reinforcement procedure can reduce, and in some cases eliminate, future resurgence.

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