Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker


Resistance to extinction in applied settings is a common problem seen in behavior excess scenarios including those that deal with dangerous responding such as high-intensity aggressive responding, or drug dependence--where relapse is discouragingly high and is acknowledged as the most significant challenge in treatment--or eating disorders, or those that include simple reduction of common but undesired behavior in adults, children, and even pets. Behavior reappearance (i.e., the untargeted return of a learned response following extinction) implicates the physical context in which learning occurs as having a critical influence on what is learned and how, when and where this learning will be expressed. Often, responding may include multiple topographies of behavior with distinct evoking discriminative stimuli that share a reinforcer, i.e., multiple members of a functional response class. The studies described in this dissertation evaluated the contribution of extinction of three members of a functional response class, all reinforced by food pellet delivery, on renewal of extinguished responding within the acquisition context. Results showed that extinction of multiple members of a functional response class increased resistance to extinction and did not attenuate renewal, but that reinforcement and subsequent extinction of a single response within the class can attenuate renewal of other previously preferred responses within that response class.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons