The functional analysis model of intervention for CAB relies on identification of the environment-behavior relations that support CAB, then re-arranging the environment in a manner that favors appropriate replacement behaviors over problem behaviors. Typical interventions can be understood as concurrent- schedule arrangements that are most effective when CAB is entirely on extinction (no longer produces the relevant reinforcer), while appropriate alternatives are reinforced continuously. These optimal treatment arrangements, however, are often impractical or othenwise unfeasible in natural environments, perhaps ultimately accounting for some proportion of treatment failure or relapse. The studies in the Project 2 assume as starting points either a) the conditions under which previously effective treatments deteriorate through an unfavorable distribution of reinforcers for CAB vs. alternative behavior, or b) the conditions leading to this form of treatment deterioration. The project then imports strategies borrowed from two interrelated areas of basic research to enhance behavioral interventions under these conditions. From the first area, behavioral economics, the principles of stimulus substitutability and elasticity of demand are combined with behavioral concepts of motivation to arrange conditions that re-establish the predominance of the replacement behaviors. The second line of basic research suggests that, all else being equal, stimuli historically associated with greater effort become valued over stimuli historically associated with lesser effort. The related experiments will first extend this phenomenon to the reinforcers themselves, and then apply the same principles in clinical contexts to establish a bias towards reinforcers that support replacement behaviors. The overall aim is to translate these basic principles into procedures that can either rehabilitate interventions under conditions in which their effects have deteriorated or inoculate interventions prior to deterioration.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-H)
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Hugo W. Moser Research Institute Kennedy Krieger
United States
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