Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Daniel D. Holt

Trevor Stokes

Keri Bethune


Behavioral momentum theory is a model that aids in the explanation of why behaviors that undergo popular intervention procedures, such as differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), have been found to increase in persistence and become more resistant to change, even with a reduction in frequency. The present study utilized a multiple concurrent schedule with a boy with autism who was non-verbal to increase his usage of an augmentative communication device to appropriately request for attention. Using the device was reinforced both in a context associated with reinforcement for inappropriate requests as well as in a separate context in which the inappropriate requests had never been reinforced. Then during an extinction test, discriminative stimuli from the novel context was combined with the discriminative stimuli in the target behavior context. Strengthening a response in a separate context using DRA resulted in less resistance to extinction than DRA that was implemented in a context associated with reinforcement of target behavior.