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Category: Learning Center Videos

Ahearn, William H. Some Musings on Automatic Reinforcement: Central Concept, Controversial Status presentation plus 1 credit BACB CE

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Automatic reinforcement is a controversial topic. Skinner (1957) described automatic contingencies in Verbal Behavior as an important concept relative to complex human behavior. However, empirical evidence relative to the existence of automatically reinforced behavior is scant. Vaughan and Michael (1982) described automatic reinforcement as referring to three types of functional relations and practitioners have operated on the assumption that automatic reinforcement, as in producing sensory consequences, provides a helpful context for crafting more effective intervention. However, problem behavior that is automatically reinforced is thought to be persistent and challenging to alter across the lifespan. This presentation will explore whether automatic reinforcement actually provides a useful account of behavior that clearly offers pragmatic value to behavior analysis and its successful application. Whether behavior, referred to as automatically reinforced, is operant, respondent, or adjunctive in nature also will be discussed.


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