The Empirical Use of a Multiple-Value Reinforcer in a Clinical Setting

Robert M. Leve, Susan O'Shea


Purpose: This single subject case study investigated the effects of utilizing multiple-value reinforcement with Mark, a 16 year old male over the course of a 20 month longitudinal intervention.
Method: Behavior was recorded along four dimensions: aggression against persons, inappropriate verbalizations, noncompliance, and AWOL attempts. After a baseline phase Mark was given toys from a reinforcement box contingent on positive behavior. Next reinforcements were changed to pennies, then to nickels, and in the dual-value phase the nickels could be used as money or saved as tokens for a clothing article of high desirability.
Results: Although behavioral improvement occurred over all phases in all four target behaviors the greatest change occurred during the final dual-value phase in two target behaviors.
Discussion: Assigning more than one value to a reinforcer is beneficial in that it can increase desirability and balance the effects of short and long term reinforcement.

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