Glossary

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  • A-B-C
    Antecedent - Behavior - Consequence. This is the three term contingency which is also known as our primary unit of analysis in ABA.

  • ABC continuous recording
    This is a type of direct observation in which the observer records occurrences of the target behaviors & selected environmental events in the natural routine during a period of time. This information gathered can then be used to form hypotheses of what function may be maintaining the problem behavior. ABC continuous forms have check boxes associated with the Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. This data can also be used to determine conditional probability.

  • ABC narrative recording
    This is a type of direct observation in which the recording is open-ended. Any antecedent events or consequences are recorded. Data is collected only when the behavior of interest is observed. This may be less time consuming than ABC continuous recording but may not yield as clear hypotheses of the function of the behavior.

  • Alternating treatment design
    An experimental design that compares two or more treatments/interventions. The results from a functional analysis are graphed using an alternating treatments design.

  • Analytic
    This is one of the 7 dimensions of behavior analysis! Analytic means there is a clear demonstration of a functional relation by the manipulation of the intervention on the behavior. You can say with confidence that the change in behavior is due to your intervention by reliably producing the same results over and over and ruling out any other causes/variables that might be influencing the behavior.

  • Antecedent
    A stimulus change that happens prior to the behavior. For example, the doorbell ringing was an antecedent to the dog barking.

  • Antecedent intervention
    This intervention involves manipulating the environment prior to a target behavior occurring. This environmental manipulation increases or decreases the likelihood of someone engaging in a target behavior. For example, Lucy prepares healthy food for the week on Monday to increase her behavior of eating healthy lunches.

  • Artifact
    A result that seems to exist by the way it was measured but it does not truly show what was measured or give a clear picture as to what has been measured. We see measurement artifacts when taking discontinuous measurements because we are not measuring every instance of behavior itself- therefore the product of our measurement is an artifact of the actually behavior that we measured (it seems to exist but is actually just a product of our measuring).

  • Autism
    This is a developmental disability that affects social interaction, behavioral needs, and communication of an individual ranging from mild to severe. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 individuals in the United States. Applied Behavior Analysis is the leading treatment for individuals with Autism. It is important to note that each individual with autism presents differently so if you have seen one person with autism, you have seen one person with autism.

  • Automatic Reinforcement
    This is a type of reinforcement that does not require someone else to deliver it to you. Your own behavior produces reinforcement. You can get what you want without anyone's help! #Queen

  • Automaticity of Reinforcement
    Reinforcement that occurs without us being aware that it is occurring. We don't have to be aware our behavior is being reinforced for reinforcement to be effective! "

  • Aversive Stimulus
    An unpleasant or painful stimulus. Everyone finds different things aversive so we have to be careful to determine individual preferences and dislikes for each client.

  • Avoidance contingency
    A response you engage in that postpones or prevents a stimulus from occurring.

  • B. F. Skinner
    The man, the myth, the legend. No but seriously, he is a big deal. He is the founder of radical behaviorism and the father of Applied Behavior Analysis.

  • Backwards chaining
    A behavior chaining procedure where all of the steps in the chain are completed for the learner except for the last one. This allows for the learner to contact reinforcement faster by completing just the last step before receiving a reward. The teacher then helps the individual progress to independence by completing all but the last two steps for the individual etc. until the learner is performing the whole chain by themselves.

  • Baseline
    Data collected before any intervention is put into place. Baseline data allows us to observe changes that occur when the intervention is put in place and helps us compare behavior under its naturally occurring conditions versus our contrived intervention conditions.

  • Basic schedule of reinforcement
    There are four types of basic schedule of reinforcement. Fixed Ratio, Fixed Interval, Variable Ratio, and Variable Interval. Each type of schedule produces different rates of responding and different patterns of occurrence for the behavior being reinforced.

  • Behavior Chain
    A sequence of responses that have to occur in order to produce a desired outcome. Each step completed serves as conditioned reinforcement for that step and a discriminative stimulus for the next step.

  • Behavior chain Interruption strategy
    A strategy used to interrupt a behavior chain at a certain step so that another behavior can be performed. We see this used frequently during mand training. We plan these interruptions so that our client has to request what they need.

  • Behavior Chain with a limited hold
    A behavior chain that must be completed within a time interval in order to access reinforcement. Think of dialing a phone number, you have to enter each number correctly and in a certain time period in order for the call to go through.

  • Behavior Checklists
    Provides a description of the behavior in a checklist format and includes the antecedents and consequences for each behavior. ABC.

  • Behavior Contract
    Also called a contingency contract, the behavior contract is a document that is signed by the contingency manager and the individual whose behavior is being changed. The contract specifies a target behavior that needs to be completed and how the individual will receive reinforcement for completing it satisfactorily. A task record or way of recording the data on the behavior is also an important component of the contingency contract.

  • Behavior Contrast
    This is a common side effect of reinforcement, punishment, and extinction procedures. This describes the effects of a schedule change that increases or decreases the rate of responding in one schedule of reinforcement and results in an opposite change of responding in the other schedule of reinforcement where no intervention has been put into place. Think about teenagers who are punished severely for swearing at home but do not receive any punishment when out with peers. Their swearing may decrease drastically under the punishment condition but do the opposite (increase) around their friends where a different contingency is in place.

  • Behavior Cusp
    A Behavior Cusp is a behavior that when performed, opens up the learner to a whole new world of contingencies for reinforcement and punishment they didn't have access to before they engaged in the behavior. This can lead the individual to display new behaviors or generalize existing repertoires in new ways without explicit teaching. An example of a behavior cusp is a baby crawling because now they can access new environments- a whole new (dangerous but exciting) world of reinforcers and potential punishers!

  • Behavioral
    This is one of the seven dimensions of ABA. The behavior selected for this dimension must be in need of improvement #socially significant, must be observable and must be measurable.

  • Behavioral Momentum
    When we implement high-p instructional sequences we are building behavior momentum with our clients. Behavioral momentum is the idea that we can sometimes see higher rates of behavior when we start by asking someone to complete simple, easy-to-do tasks and building momentum to complete before asking someone to complete a task that they find aversive or are less likely to complete regularly.

  • Celeration
    This is a type of measurement that measures how rates of responding change over time. This is the root word of acceleration and deceleration. When someone is responding faster their rate is said to be accelerating and when their rates of responding slow down they are said to decelerate. Celeration is rate/per unit of time.

  • Changing Criterion design
    This is a type of experimental design in which some dimension of a behavior is systematically changed through the use of reinforcement and pre-set criterion changes. We use this type of design to evaluate the effects of an intervention that is applied in a stepwise pattern for one single behavior.

  • CMO-R (Reflexive CMO)
    A stimulus that comes before some kind of painful stimulation or aversive event. Something in the environment that signals to you things are about to get worse so you better engage in those behaviors you have in the past that prevent that aversive situation to happen.

  • CMO-S (Surrogate CMO)
    This is when a stimulus that was previously neutral (meant nothing to you) is paired with another motivating operation and now that stimulus itself creates an MO for the person. In the past when you had to go to the bathroom and you saw a restroom sign you were able to go to the bathroom. Now that restroom sign may evoke your behavior of having to urinate even if you don't have to in that moment.

  • CMO-T (Transitive CMO)
    This is when something in the environment establishes something else as a reinforcer or punisher. You may be trying to open a bottle of wine (deprived of wine) and in that moment you really need a wine key to open the wine. Being deprived of wine in that moment and the bottle of wine that cannot be opened easily is a CMO-T that establishes the value of opening the wine with a wine key and evokes behaviors to find the wine key or ask someone for help.

  • Comorbidity
    This term means that a person is diagnosed with multiple diagnoses at the same time.

  • Comparative Analysis
    A comparative analysis looks at two different types of treatment in an attempt to determine which is more effective. The Big Question: Which one worked better? Real Life example: Which keyboard types faster, a T-Mobile Sidekick or a Blackberry? Clinical Example: In working with a client whose behavior is primarily maintained by negative attention, the team implements planned ignoring vs. functional communication training (learning to recruit attention by saying, “excuse me”) and measures which is more effective in reducing challenging behavior.

  • Component Analysis
    A component analysis dissects each part of a treatment package to determine exactly which piece is affecting behavior change (i.e., what we’re measuring). The Big Question: Which part is the best part (or the worst part)? Real Life Example You’re at a boujee Sweet 16 and recognize you hate everybody because they’re annoying and entitled. You start demanding that everybody leave. You yell at one person at a time to grab their bejeweled shoes and leave the building immediately. After you ask one specific person to leave, you recognize that they were the reason you were so annoyed--- not all the other kids. Clinical Example: The BCBA develops a treatment package including one antecedent intervention (e.g., noncontingent access to magazines), one functional communication training procedure (e.g., requesting time alone), and one response cost procedure (e.g., fining the client for every instance in which they make an inappropriate sexual remark). The team removes one part of the treatment package at a time (they may begin with removing the antecedent strategy, collecting baseline data, and then re-implementing the antecedent strategy and removing the functional communication training procedure) and continues to collect data to determine the most effective piece of the treatment package.

  • Conceptually Systematic
    One of the seven dimensions of ABA that reminds behavior analysts to always rely on and using the principles of behavior in everything they do. All behavior change plans or interventions must be conceptually systematic and be able to be explained in terms of the basics of behavior analysis.

  • Concurrent schedule of reinforcement
    A type of compound schedule of reinforcement that includes the combination of two or more basic schedules of reinforcement (FI,FR,VI,VR) for two or more behaviors and the schedules are occurring at the same time. Each schedule has an clear SD (discriminative stimulus) associated with it. This allows the learner to choose which schedule of reinforcement they want to allot their responses to. This schedule is associated with matching law. People tend to choose the schedule that has the most, easiest to access, best type of reinforcement available.

  • Conditional Probability
    This is measured using ABC Continuous Recording data. It is the likelihood that a behavior will occur more under certain antecedents and consequences. It helps us form a hypothesis of what function is maintaining the behavior of interest. Probability range is 0.0 to 1.0. The closer the conditional probability is to 1.0 the more likely that the behavior will happen with those antecedent and consequence variables.

  • Conditioned Negative Reinforcer
    A variety of reinforcers that have been paired with the removal or postponement of an aversive stimulus. These have to be learned- we don't come out of the womb sensitive to these reinforcers.

  • Conditioned Punishers
    Due to a person's learning history different stimuli may function as conditioned punishers. There is a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure that has to occur for this to exist. What may be punishing for one person might actually be reinforcing for another. A conditioned punisher is one that reduces a behavior when it is applied as a consequence but has to be learned to do so (think about when you first told your dog NO!" for peeing on the rug- it meant nothing to him. After repeated "No!'s paired with other punishers like a gentle nose swat or being sent outside

  • Conditioned Reinforcer
    In the same way as a conditioned punisher has to be learned, so does a conditioned reinforcer. This is defined as a stimulus in the environment that functions as a reinforcer due to past experiences. Each person's learning history will result in different conditioned reinforcers.

  • Confounding variables
    These are variables that you didn't know were occurring during your experiment that had an impact of the behavior or dependent variable. They can hurt our confidence in experimental control and the internal validity of our experiment.

  • Consequence
    Something that happens as a result of something else. A stimulus change that follows the behavior of interest. The result of a behavior and can either be good or bad (and might be good for one person but aversive for another).

  • Contingency
    A rule about a temporal relation between the environment and behavior. We mostly look at the three-term contingency (ABC) and the four-term contingency (MO/SD, A, B, C).

  • Contingency Shaped Behavior:
    Behavior that is influenced by coming into direct contact with a reinforcer or punisher. This is the friend you have that doesn't learn from someone just saying not to touch the hot stove; they have to learn by actually touching the stove and contacting the painful punishment directly.

  • Contingent Reinforcement or punishment
    Reinforcement or punishment that is delivered dependent on a specific behavior occurring.

  • Continuous measurement
    Measurement procedures in which all instances of behavior or response class are captured.

  • Continuous reinforcement (CRF)
    Reinforcement is provided on every occurrence of the behavior. We use CRF when we are teaching new behaviors and then we fade the schedule of reinforcement to intermittent reinforcement to maintain a behavior one it is learned.

  • Count
    A form of measurement that is a simple tally or count of how many times a behavior occurs.

  • Cumulative record
    A type of graph invented by Skinner that counts rates of behavior cumulatively over time. There is never a decrease in this type of graph. The steeper the slope in a cumulative record the high the rate of responding. When you see a flat line it means there is no responding.

  • Cumulative Recorder
    The device Skinner invented to measure rates of responding.

  • Data
    Data! Data! Data! Data are collections of observations and measurements that have been gathered to quantify a phenomenon.This is what we do as behavior analysts. We take data on behaviors of interest and use that data to implement interventions. We must continuously monitor and analyze the data.

  • Dependent group contingency
    This is a type of group contingency where reinforcement is delivered to a group of people contingent on the behavior of one individual or a small group who meets the performance criteria. This is also called the hero procedure.

  • Dependent Variable
    This is the behavior that you are measuring also known as the target behavior. This variable/behavior is affected by the implementation of the independent variable (or intervention).

  • Deprivation
    Withholding a reinforcer or stimulus in order to make it more valuable. When you deprive yourself of something, it makes you want it more and you will engage in behaviors to access it. Basically when someone is deprived of something they like it creates an establishing motivating operation (increases the value) and has an evocative (behavior altering) effect on behavior.

  • Differential Reinforcement
    Reinforcing one response class and withholding reinforcement for all other responses that are not part of that response class. We use differential reinforcement to reduce problem behavior by withholding all reinforcement.

  • Differential Reinforcement of Alternative behaviors (DRA)
    This procedure is used to decrease problem behavior by reinforcing appropriate alternative behaviors and withholding reinforcement for any instance of the problem behavior. It is important to pick an appropriate alternative behavior whose function matches the problem behavior. For example if a child is tantruming to get out of a work assignment, the function would most likely be escape. We would want to teach them an appropriate behavior that will still allow them to escape the demand such as handing you a break card or simply saying I want a break." "

  • Differential Reinforcement of Diminishing Rates (DRD)
    A schedule of reinforcement where reinforcement is only delivered if the behavior occurs less than a pre set criteria during a pre set interval. This criteria is gradually decreased. This schedule is used to decrease problem behavior.

  • Differential Reinforcement of High Rates of Behavior (DRH)
    This is a schedule of differential reinforcement of rates of responding where only responses that are higher than the set criterion. Used for increasing a behavior by decreasing the Inter-response time between behaviors.

  • Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior (DRI)
    This schedule of reinforcement provides reinforcement for a behavior that is incompatible with the problem behavior. This means the two behaviors are not able to be emitted at the same time. You can not punch your friend if your hands are in your pocket.

  • Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates of Behavior (DRL)
    This schedule of reinforcement provides reinforcement dependent on the response occurring after a specific time period where there were no occurrences of the behavior. This schedule is used to decrease behaviors by increasing the inter-response time between behaviors.

  • Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO)
    This schedule of reinforcement provides reinforcement for the non-occurrence of the problem behavior. Any other behavior can occur during the interval except for the problem behavior.

  • Direct Assessments
    These are assessments that use direct measurement of the target Behavior (standardized tests, criterion-referenced assessments, direct observations).

  • Discontinuous measurement
    A form of time sampling measurement that does not catch every instance of behavior. There are three types of time sampling procedures: partial interval time sample, whole interval time sampling, and momentary time sampling.

  • Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
    A way of teaching developed by Lovas where a teacher prompts a learner to engage in a behavior with the delivery of a clear Sd. The student has an opportunity to respond. There are five steps to each DTT trial. Antecedent Prompt Response Consequence for the response (correct or incorrect) Interval between trials

  • Discriminative Stimulus (Sd)
    An antecedent stimulus that signals the availability of reinforcement for specific responses.

  • DSM-5
    A diagnostic manual to identify Mental Disorders. It is used by a variety of professionals to diagnose and treat individuals who meet the criteria in the manual.

  • Duration
    A form of measurement that measures how long a behavior lasts for or extends over time.

  • Echoic
    A primary verbal operant that has point to point correspondence and formal similarity. Think of repeating the exact word you hear #echo.

  • Ecological assessment
    This is a type of assessment that gathers information about the client and their environment in which the live or work and the people they interact with.

  • Effective
    One of the seven dimensions of ABA. It is when a behavior change is clinically or socially significant to that person. How much does the behavior have to change for it to affect their life in a positive way.

  • Elementary verbal operants:
    These are Skinners 6 types of verbal operants which include: Mand, Tact, Echoic, Intraverbal, Textual, Transcription.

  • Elopement
    This is when a client engages in behaviors such as wandering off, running or walking away from a designated spot.

  • Environment
    Refers to the world around us. Environment is the place in which behavior functions.

  • Escape
    The termination of an aversive stimulus and is maintained by negative reinforcement.

  • Establishing Operation (EO)
    A particular type of motivating operation that we use to increase the value of something. We create establishing operations by depriving someone of something they like.

  • Event recording
    A method for measuring the number of times a behavior occurs that includes frequency, rate, and celeration.

  • Evocative Effect
    This behavior altering effect is an increase in the current frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by the stimulus, activity, or item in the past. ex: Deprivation of water increases the current frequency of behavior that has gained you access to food in the past (opening the fridge, going in a restaurant, or grabbing a snack from your bag).

  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB):
    This is one of the domains of behavior analysis science that began with Skinners publication of The Behavior of Organisms in 1938. This domain focused of respondent and operant behavior and basic research in a lab.

  • Experimental Control
    One is said to have experimental control when a researchers utilize techniques to minimize the effects of extraneous variables. The goal of experimental control is to have as much certainty as possible that the change in the dependent variable are a direct result from changes to the independent variable.

  • External Validity
    A study is said to have high external validity when its findings can be replicated and generalized to other settings and with other individuals.

  • Extinction
    Extinction refers to a procedure in which reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior is withheld. Once we are able to find the function maintaining a behavior, we use extinction to withhold the maintaining reinforcer. Extinction must be implemented for all occurrences of the target behavior to be most effective. Extinction is used to decrease or eliminate target behaviors.

  • Extinction Burst:
    A rapid burst of responses that occurs when extinction is first implemented.

  • Faulty Stimulus Control
    This is when a response is emitted in the presence of a stimulus but it is under the control of irrelevant antecedent stimuli.

  • Fixed Interval
    One of the four basic schedules of reinforcement where reinforcement is delivered for a correct response is emitted after a SET amount of time.

  • Fixed Ratio
    One of the four basic schedules of reinforcement where reinforcement is delivered for a correct response is emitted after a SET number of responses occur.

  • Fixed-Time
    After a set amount of time goes by reinforcement is delivered independent of any behavior occurring. Think of NCR!

  • Forward chaining
    A type of chaining procedure where the learner has to complete the first step of task analysis independently before moving on to the next step. If the learner does not complete the first step independently the teacher corrects them and prompts them on that step until the get it right then moves on to second step. The learner must then complete step one and step two independently and in that order and so on.

  • Free operant
    Behaviors that are free to occur at anytime and have a clear beginning and end.

  • Frequency
    A type of measurement where you just count every response., also known as count. This tells us how often a behavior occurs. We can also use this measurement to determine the rate (frequency/time).

  • Full Physical Prompt
    This is a type of response prompt that is the most intrusive to the learner because the teacher provides 100% hand over hand or full physical contact to help them emitt the behavior correctly.

  • Function Based Definition
    This is a group of responses that have the same function on the environment, even though they topographically look different. For example, one can say attention maintained behaviors" which includes any behaviors that resulted in the individual accessing attention. Ex: yelling out in class

  • Functional Analysis (FA)
    A functional analysis is the high level of a functional behavioral assessment. An FA is conducted to determine the function of a behavior. This is done by contriving situations and testing different conditions. In a traditional FA there are four conditions: play (also known as the control condition), alone condition, contingent escape condition or demand, and contingent attention condition.

  • Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
    An assessment that is designed to determine the hypothetical function of the problem behavior. Includes indirect assessments (interviews checklist) and direct assessments (observations and test).

  • Functional Communication Training (FCT)
    Also referred to as FCT. This is an antecedent intervention in which an appropriate behavior to communicate is taught to replace problematic behavior. This intervention uses differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior (DRA).

  • Generalization
    This is one of the 7 dimensions of ABA. We use the term generalization within behavior analysis to explain how an individual can engage in a behavior or implement an intervention across other settings, behaviors, and individuals. For example, if we teach a child to mand for items they need in the classroom, we plan to generalize this behavior to the child's home or play group.

  • Generalized Conditioned Reinforcer (GCR)
    Also known as GCR. This is a reinforcer that has been created by being paired with many other unconditioned and conditioned reinforcers. GCR do not depend on current establishing operations for it to be an effective reinforcer. Since they have been used following multiple behaviors in multiple conditions, their effectiveness does not depend on the current MO. Examples: tokens, money, praise, social praise.

  • Good Behavior Game
    This is an interdependent group contingency in which a class/group is divided into two or more groups that compete against one another. The team with fewer marks" at the end is the winner of the game and can access the reinforcement. This is often done in classrooms when a teacher will say

  • Graphs
    A visual display of data. In ABA we do many visual analysis of the data on graphs to determine whether our interventions are effective.

  • Group Contingencies
    A contingency offered to a group of individuals where a single consequence (it can be a reinforcer or punisher) is given based on either the behavior of a person in a group, the behavior of a smaller set of people within the group or the group as a whole.

  • Habilitation
    Improving a person's life by maximizing reinforcers and minimizing punishers.

  • Habituation
    A decrease in responsiveness when an eliciting stimulus is presented repeatedly over a short period of time. For example, after a party when you pop the first few balloons you will likely jump at first, but after popping a many balloons over a short period of time, the reaction of jumping decreases.

  • Hero procedure
    This is also known as the Dependent Group Contingency.

  • high probability (high-p) request sequence
    An antecedent intervention in which two to five high probability (easy tasks with a history of compliance) are presented in quick succession before delivering the target (low-probability) demand. We use high-p-low-p request sequences to build behavioral momentum for ourselves or our learners.

  • Imitation
    Behavior that is preceded by a model modeling the target behavior that is controlling the imitative response. This imitative behavior must have formal similarity to the modeled behavior. The imitated behavior must also be followed closely in time to the modeled behavior.

  • Independent Group Contingency
    A group contingency where reinforcement is available for every person individually if they complete the criteria and does not depend on anyone else's behavior. Every man for himself.

  • Independent Variable
    the IV is the intervention or treatment that you are using to change a behavior (DV).

  • Indirect Assessment
    This is a type of assessment that is done during a functional behavior assessment that involves interviews, checklists, and rating scales and is not a direct measure of behavior.

  • Indirect Measurement
    Occurs when the behavior that is measured is in some way different from the behavior of interest. This is considered less valid than direct measurements.

  • Indiscriminable Contingency
    This is a contingency that makes it unclear for the learner to discriminate whether his or her next response will result in reinforcement. Analysts use indiscriminable contingencies with learners by using intermittent reinforcement.

  • Inter-response Time
    IRT is the time between the end of one response and the beginning of another response.

  • Interdependent Group Contingency
    A group contingency where reinforcement is available only if everyone in the group meets the criteria. All or nothing.

  • Internal Validity
    The extent to which an experiment shows convincingly that that changes in the dependent variable are a direct result of manipulation of the independent variable.

  • Interobserver Agreement
    (IOA) refers to the degree to which two or more independent observers report the same observed values after measuring the same events.

  • Intervention
    The treatment you implementing to increase or decrease the target behavior. Also known as the Independent Variable.

  • Irreversibility
    This is when the level of behavior that was exhibited in a previous phase can not occur in a different phase due to the learning history that has taken place. You can not unlearn a behavior such as sight words or riding a bike so we would not use a reversal or withdrawal design for behaviors that can not be reversed.

  • John B. Watson
    he is the founder of methodological behaviorism. He focused on the Stimulus-Response and did not take private events into account when looking at behavior.

  • Lag Schedule of reinforcement
    a schedule of reinforcement that requires responses to be different from the previous response for reinforcement to occur and results in response variability.

  • Latency
    This is the amount of time between the delivery of the Discriminative Stimuli (demand) and the start of the behavior.

  • Level
    Value on the vertical axis around which a series of data point converge.

  • Level System
    This is a type of token system that the participant moves up or down levels based on the criteria that is contingent on the behavior.

  • Line Graph
    The line graph is based on the Cartesian plane. Points on the graph represent relationships between the dependent and independent variables. Comparisons of data points reveals the presence or absence of changes in level, trend, and/or variability of a behavior and behavior analysts use this information for implementing interventions and improving behaviors.

  • Magnitude
    A way to measure the force or intensity of a behavior.

  • Maintenance
    Does the behavior maintain over time even after we are no longer working with our client. This is something you always need to be planning for during and after treatment.

  • Masking
    Masking is when there is a competing stimulus in the environment which decreases the salience of a specific stimulus. The competing stimulus blocks the evocative effect of the stimulus, decreasing its effectiveness. Translation: Even if one has a skill in their repertoire, it can be masked because there is something else in the environment which is more salient drawing attention.

  • Matching Law
    We see this with concurrent schedules of reinforcement. When there are two or more schedules occuring at the same time an individual will allocate more responses on the denser schedule of reinforcement. Behavior goes where reinforcement flows.

  • Momentary Time Sample
    This is a type of discontinuous measurement procedure where you check to see if the behavior is occurring only at the end of a predetermined interval.

  • Motivating Operation
    Motivating operations (MO) are environmental variables that: alter the effectiveness (value altering effect) of some stimulus, object, or event as a reinforcer, and. alter the current frequency of all behavior (Behavior altering effect) that has been reinforced by that stimulus, object, or event.

  • Naive Observer
    An observer who has little or no prior information about the event/intervention/experiment that he or she is observing or the people involved in them. This helps avoid biases.

  • Negative Punishment
    Negative punishment is where you take away something that someone likes to decrease the future frequency of a behavior. Some examples are time out, taking away a cellphone, car, or freedom.

  • Negative Reinforcement
    Negative reinforcement is a consequence following a behavior that involves removing someone or one's self from an aversive situation. By removing an aversive, it increases the future frequency of behavior. The two types of negative reinforcement are escape and avoidance. An example of negative reinforcement is taking a tylenol to remove your headache. The relief experienced here results in you taking tylenol the next time you have a headache or an ache.

  • NET
    Naturalistic Environment Teaching is when we use opportunities in the client's natural environment for teachable moments.

  • Non-contingent reinforcement (NCR)
    An antecedent intervention where reinforcement is delivered on a time based schedule independent of any specific or correct behavior.

  • Nonparametric Analysis
    This is when we look at the effect on behavior when the independent variable (intervention) is present or absent. Real-life example: After seeing a psychologist, you decide that Lexapro is in your near future. Constantly moody and feeling a bit on edge, this magic pill can supposedly take the edge off and make you feel alive again. For a straight month, you take your Lexapro religiously. Following this month and seeing an increase in your positive vibes, you decide to go #coldturkey on the Lexapro and completely stop taking it. The purpose in doing so would be to determine if you actually need it to maintain those positive vibes, baby. Clinical Example: The clinical team decides to implement Greg Hanley’s “My Way” Protocol for 2 consecutive weeks. Following the client meeting a pre-set mastery criteria (i.e., using functional communication independently for 5 consecutive sessions), the team is instructed to remove the intervention and collect baseline data without the use of the intervention.

  • Normalization
    This is the philosophy that all people with disabilities should be able to access all environments without barriers.

  • Observer Drift:
    An unintended change in the way an observer uses a measurement system over time that results in a measurement error. This happens when the behavior being measured is not clearly operationally defined or the operational definition clarifying what is and what is not the behavior is not reviewed regularly.

  • Observer Reactivity
    An error in measurement that occurs when someone is watching you take data.

  • Ontogeny
    The selection of responses by consequences that occurs throughout an organism's lifetime- learning"."

  • Operant Behavior
    Is a result of an organism's learning history. Behavior that is learned over a lifetime.

  • Operant Conditioning
    This refers to how consequences shape our behavior through reinforcement and punishment.

  • Overcorrection
    When an individual engages in a inappropriate behavior they are required to engage in a repetitive behavior repeatedly as a punishment procedure in hopes that the inappropriate behavior will decrease in the future.

  • Overshadowing
    This occurs when there is a competing stimulus in the environment that prevents an individual from acquiring a skill.

  • Parametric Analysis
    An experiment designed to determine the effects of different #dosages of the independent variable being implemented. For example, one can determine what amount of reinforcement is most effective at maintaining or increasing target behaviors. The Big Question: How much is best? Real Life Example: How much Adderall do I need to write this blog post? If I take too little, I may never even start writing. If I take too much, I may become hyper focused on cleaning my keyboard with a toothpick. We basically use a parametric analysis to be like Goldilocks and find the bed that’s just right. How many White Claws do I have to chug before I black out? Clinical Example: The team is working with a school district to implement a school-wide incentive system. In doing so, the team must determine how often students may exchange their tickets for a prize that remains effective to maintain target behavior. Too infrequently (i.e., once every 2 weeks), the students may quickly lose interest and engage in other behavior because the delay is too long. Too frequently, though, the “lure” of an incentive system may lose its luster, as children have access to it every single day and are more likely to grow satiated by the system.  

  • parsimony
    An attitude that involves using or testing simple explanations before moving on to consider more complicated explanations for observed phenomena.

  • Partial interval recording
    A type of discontinuous measurement that records that the behavior occurred during an interval if it happens at any point during the interval. This type of measurement overestimates the behavior.

  • Percent of occurrence
    A derivative measure in which one calculates the number of correct responses over a number of opportunities to get a percentage. Think about pitching a child five baseballs and calculating that their percentage of hits over opportunities is 4(hits)/5(total opportunities) as an example.

  • Permanent product
    Any behavior that leaves an impact on the environment and can be recorded after the behavior occurs.

  • Philosophic Doubt
    Important attitude of skepticism and humility that scientists use to help them question everything and keep looking for better and better solutions or explanations.

  • Pivotal Behavior
    A behavior-that once mastered in a training/teaching setting- leads the individual to perform new behaviors without having to be explicitly taught.

  • Planned activity check (PLACHECK)
    A variation of momentary time sampling that is used for groups. The observer checks to see if the behavior is occurring at the end of predetermined interval for a group of students.

  • Planned Ignoring
    A function-based treatment for behaviors that are maintained by access to others' attention (in other words, the attention they receive for engaging in the behavior is why" they do it). In this treatment

  • Positive Practice Overcorrection
    In this consequence-based strategy, when a student emits a maladaptive behavior, they are then required to perform the alternative acceptable behavior again and again. For example, a student that throws paper on the floor might be required to practice walking to the trash can to throw away trash several times in a row. The intent is to reduce or punish the maladaptive behavior so it occurs less often after the positive practice overcorrection procedure.

  • Positive Punishment
    An operant (learned) behavior contingency in which a behavior is emitted, something is added to the environment, and as a result, the behavior is less likely to happen in the future. The positive part means something was added" as a consequence (like a parent yelling after a kid hits or spraying a cat with a water bottle when they scratch furniture) and the "punishment" part refers to the decrease in probability that the behavior will be emitted in the future. "

  • Positive Reinforcement:
    An operant (learned) behavior contingency in which a behavior is emitted, a stimulus is added to the environment, and as a result, the behavior is more likely to happen in the future. Positive is used to mean adding" something when the behavior occurs (such as giving a child a sticker when they clean their room) and reinforcement refers to the increased probability of that behavior happening again in the future (the kid cleans their room more often as a result of the added sticker). "

  • Potential Reinforcers
    The first thing you need to know about reinforcement is the difference between a reinforcer and a potential reinforcer. A potential reinforcer is anything your dog wants enough that it seems likely that he would be willing to change his behavior to get it.

  • Pragmatism
    The attitude of science which involves assessing how useful an explanation is by looking at whether it produces useful results (Do what works, don't do things that don't work). The pragmatic attitude helps behavior analysts trust their data and look for interventions that work for each and every individual, rather than relying on default technologies or package treatments that should" work but don't produce valuable outcomes for the clients themselves. "

  • Precision teaching
    A system of measurement in which behaviors for change are pinpointed/defined exactly, observed and measured frequently and sensitively, graphed on a Standard Celeration Chart, and analyzed for any changes needed to improve learning for the student. The instructional system is effective for a huge range of behaviors and learners with and without disabilities or diagnoses.

  • Preference assessment
    Also known as a stimulus preference assessment. This refers to a variety of procedures used to determine the stimuli that a person prefers. We do this to determine potential reinforcers.

  • Premack principle
    This is also known as grandmas law or first/then. You ask asking the individual to engage in a low probability behavior before they can have a high probability behavior or reinforcer.

  • Procedural fidelity
    Also known as treatment integrity, this is a measure of how reliably a treatment is being delivered as it was designed/written. To calculate procedural fidelity, write out a list of the steps involved in performing the treatment and record whether each step was being performed correctly. Then, divide the number of correctly performed steps by total number of steps in the task to get a percentage of procedural fidelity.

  • Progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement
    A schedule of delivering reinforcement in which the number of correct responses required before reinforcer delivery gradually increases. For example, a student might get a candy completing 3 math problems correctly, then be required to solve 5 math problems correctly for a candy, then seven corrects etc.

  • Prompt
    An antecedent strategy to evoke a correct response from an individual.

  • Punishment
    One of the main principles of ABA. This is a consequence following a response that immediately proceeds it. Punishment has occured when the future frequency of the behavior decreases or is eliminated. For example, The child sticks his finger in the outlet and gets shocked. The child no longer sticks his finger in outlets in the future.

  • Rate
    A measure of how often behavior occurs over time. Eg. mands per hour, tantrums per day.

  • Ratio Strain
    This occurs when the schedule of reinforcement is thinned to quickly and the learner stops responding.

  • Reactivity
    This happens a lot when we as BCBAs come to observe. The clients or people we are observing may behave differently because they are being reactive to our presence.

  • Reflex
    A stimulus-response relationship in which an unconditioned stimulus elicits an unconditioned response reliably without any prior learning history.

  • Reinforcement
    The process of operant conditioning in which a consequence (stimulus change) is delivered after a behavior and the probability of that behavior occurring in the future increases.

  • Reinforcer
    Reinforcers are stimuli (or stimulus changes) that, when delivered as a consequence for a specific response, have the ability to increase the likelihood of the organism engaging in that response again in the future.

  • Reinforcer assessment
    Direct, systematic, test designed to show how effective/powerful a stimulus is at increasing behaviors that it follows. Identifies reinforcers by directly observing them used as consequences to increase a particular response. Three main types- using a concurrent, progressive, or mixed schedule of reinforcement in each.

  • Relevance of behavior rule
    The principle that states that only behaviors that will actually be relevant (useful and capable of producing reinforcement) in an individual's real life should be targeted for teaching.

  • Repeatability
    One of the three fundamental properties of measuring behavior. repeatability refers to whether a response can be counted again and again over the span of an observation period.

  • Repertoire
    All of the behaviors that a person can do. Everything in your #toolbox

  • Respondent Behavior
    Respondent behavior is an action that an organism produces in response to the antecedent stimuli in the environment alone (it is not selected by consequences) and is typically essential for the organism's survival. Respondent behaviors have been selected by phylogeny because these involuntary" or "reflexive" responses to antecedent stimuli have created advantages for the species or helped it survive over generations."

  • Respondent Conditioning
    The process of pairing a stimulus that naturally elicits a reflexive response with other stimuli repeatedly until the previously neutral (other) stimuli can elicit the reflexive response independently. The most common example is Pavlov's dog experiment in which dogs were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell after the bell was repeatedly paired with the natural antecedent stimulus of the smell of delicious meat.

  • Respondent Extinction
    The repeated presentation of a conditioned stimulus in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus. The conditioned stimulus gradually loses its ability to elicit the conditioned response until the conditioned reflex no longer appears.

  • Response
    A single instance of behavior.

  • Response Class
    A set of behaviors that look different (have different topographies) but all serve the same purpose for the individual or have the same effect on the environment. for example, asking nicely or stealing might both be ways for an individual to get access to an item they want so they would be members of the same response class.

  • Response Cost
    A punishment procedure that involves taking away a previously earned reinforcer when maladaptive behavior is emitted.

  • Response Generalization
    When an individual can produce multiple responses/behaviors in the presence of a single antecedent stimulus, they have demonstrated response generalization. For example, when someone feels the antecedent stimulus of hunger"

  • Response Prompt
    Special antecedent stimuli that are added to help an individual respond appropriately to the antecedent stimulus that will eventually control the response on its own naturally. response prompts include physical guidance, modeling, and instructions.

  • Restitutional Overcorrection
    A positive punishment procedure in which the individual must replace/fix the environment to an even better condition than it was when they emitted the damaging or dangerous behavior. If someone throws a book on the floor in the library, they might be required to reshelve all of the books that have been left out in order to punish the book-throwing behavior.

  • Reversal design
    A reversal design is a single subject experiment that follows an ABAB"pattern in which the A condition is implemented first

  • Rule Governed Behavior
    When you do not engage in a certain behavior not because you have come into contact with the contingencies before, but because of a rule you have been told about what could happen if you do engage in that behavior. You may never have gotten a speeding ticket before but if you follow the rules of not speeding you are engaging in rule governed behavior.

  • S-Delta
    A stimulus in the environment that signals the non-availability of reinforcement. For example, if you need to go to the bathroom and there is an Out of Order" sign on the door. This signals the non-availability of relieving (negative reinforcement) yourself in that bathroom."

  • Satiation
    An abolishing operation in which the individual has engaged in some sort of behavior that temporarily decreased the value of a consequence as a reinforcer and temporarily makes the person less likely to engage in behaviors to access that consequence. Eating six double cheeseburgers would produce satiation- the individual would probably be less likely to engage in behavior that would help them access more food to eat as a consequence.

  • Scatterplot
    A way of visually representing problem behavior by the time of day in which it occurs. This can help a clinician identify times of day that may be more likely to be correlated with high rates or especially low rates of problem behavior in a person's day.

  • SD (Discriminative Stimulus)
    This is a stimulus that has a history of signaling the availability of reinforcement. For example, a Starbucks Coffee sign signals the availability of coffee. If you are tired, seeing a Starbucks sign signals the availability of reinforcement (coffee).

  • Self Injurious Behavior
    Behavior that an individual produces that has a damaging effect on their body/health/wellbeing. Hitting one's' own head against a hard surface or doing drugs would both be considered self-injurious behaviors.

  • Self-Management
    A process of behavior change in which an individual attempts to modify their own behavior.

  • Self-monitoring
    The process of measuring and monitoring one's own behavior. This can sometimes produce behavior change without additional intervention even though the person is technically just counting and recording behavior, not changing the environment in which it occurs.

  • Sequence effect
    This is when the effects of an intervention from one condition carry over into the next condition.

  • Shaping
    A behavior change procedure in which successive approximations to a final goal/performance are systematically reinforced while less optimal performances are but on extinction. Shaping can produce gradual changes in a behavior over time.

  • Social validity
    Social validity is the idea that our procedures, goals, and outcomes must not only be effective but also must be well-liked and acceptable to the people involved in treatment planning and delivery.

  • Socially Mediated
    A consequence that is socially mediated is one that is delivered by another human or which requires another human in order for the individual's behavior to contact a relevant reinforcer. Asking someone to get you a glass of water is likely reinforced by the socially mediated action of someone else getting you the water- getting the water from a drinking fountain on your own on the other hand, does not require another person and therefore would not be socially mediated.

  • Socially Valid
    A socially valid treatment plan includes goals, processes, and outcomes which have been evaluated as acceptable to key stakeholders such as the individual, their family, and other professionals.

  • Standard celeration chart
    The standard celeration chart is a standardized semi logarithmic chart that has time extending from the left to right on the X axis in an additive fashion while rates of behavior are charted on an exponential/logarithmic scale on the Y axis. This allows the clinician to quickly analyze data visually and even allows for visual analysis of celeration- the change in rate over time- which can be a useful metric when evaluating teaching procedures.

  • Stimulus
    An energy change that affects an organism through its receptor skills. The environment is made up of tons of stimuli. Stimuli can be anything that one can use their 5 senses to experience: something you see, smell, hear, or feel.

  • Stimulus class
    A group of stimuli that share common elements. They can share formal, functional, or temporal similarities. One example can include a french bulldog, Labrador, and Terrier all falling into the stimulus class of dogs"."

  • Stimulus Control
    Stimulus control occurs when an operant (learned) behavior is emitted in the presence of certain appropriate antecedent stimuli and is not emitted when these stimuli are missing or other inappropriate stimuli are present. A child that says dog" in the presence of a chihuahua but does not say "dog" when in the presence of a Maine Coon cat is demonstrating stimulus control. "

  • Stimulus Equivalence
    When a learner can reliably demonstrate reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity they have stimulus equivalence. This is when two or more stimuli evoke the same response.

  • Stimulus Generalization
    when an antecedent stimulus has a history of evoking a response that has been reinforced in it’s presence, there is a general tendency for similar stimuli to also evoke a response. An example is a child that sees a live pet cat and says “Cat” can also see a stuffed animal cat and say “cat”.

  • Stimulus Prompt
    An antecedent stimulus added to the environment to help an individual respond to the correct signal/antecedent in the environment. Movement, redundancy, and position are all considered stimulus prompts.

  • Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing
    The process of presenting two stimuli at the same time repeatedly until either stimulus elicits the response regardless of whether both or one are present.

  • Successive approximation
    An attempt to perform a task that is slightly better than a previous performance. Successive approximations are an important component to shaping procedures.

  • Target Behavior
    The behavior we are measuring or intervening on for change of increasing or decreasing.

  • Task Analysis
    A step by step detailed description of all of the behaviors that must occur in order to produce an outcome or final performance. A recipe is typically a task analysis of how to accomplish a bigger outcome- how to make a complex but delicious dish of food.

  • Technological
    A dimension of applied behavior analysis in which procedures are described in enough detail (typically written) so that another person could replicate the procedure exactly.

  • Temporal Extent
    How long a behavior extends over time. #duration

  • Temporal Locus
    Where a behavior is located in time. #IRT #Latency

  • Terminal Behavior
    In shaping procedures, the terminal behavior is the final" performance that is being shaped and taught. It is the ideal version of the behavior that must be emitted before it would be considered "mastered". Often the terminal behavior is also the version of the behavior that would contact natural reinforcement if it were emitted outside of the training setting. #IRL"

  • The Four Functions of Behavior
    The four functions of behavior describe why someone may engage in any behavior; in other words, why any learned behavior has been selected by its consequences. The four functions traditionally include access to tangibles, access to attention, access to sensory input, and escape/avoidance. Individuals select/choose behaviors to include in their repertoire because they serve one or more of these purposes in their life.

  • Three Term Contingency
    This is the primary unit of analysis in behavior analysis. This includes the antecedent, behavior, and the consequence. This is also known as the S-R-S (Stimulus-Response-Stimulus).

  • Time sampling
    A discontinuous measurement procedure in which not all instances of a response/behavior are able to be recorded.

  • Timing
    A continuous measurement procedure that involves observing when and for how long a behavior occurs in real time.

  • Token economy
    A token economy is a system of reinforcement in which small arbitrary tokens" or stimuli are delivered frequently for adaptive behaviors. The smaller tokens can then be exchanged at certain points in time for more valuable "backup" reinforcers. Think of traditional sticker charts in which students are given small stickers for doing little acts of good throughout the week and can then turn in stickers for prizes at the end of the week. "

  • Topographical based definition
    Describing the shape and form of a behavior only.

  • Topography
    The extent to which the data measured are measuring the relevant dimension that was intended to be measured.

  • Transitivity
    An emergent relationship that is produced when two other stimulus-stimulus relationships have been mastered.Specifically, when an individual is trained that A=B and B=C, the individual can state that A=C without being explicitly taught this third relationship.

  • Treatment drift
    The gradual (and often accidental) change in how a treatment is implemented over time.

  • Treatment Integrity
    Treatment integrity (also called procedural fidelity) is a measure of how reliably the steps of a treatment protocol are being implemented by others. It is reported as a percentage of correctly performed steps in the treatment out of the total number of opportunities.

  • Trend
    The overall direction taken by a data path. It is described as increasing (ascending), decreasing (descending), or no trend (stable). We look at trend to predict future measures of behavior if we do not change conditions.

  • Trials to Criterion
    A form of event recording. It is a derivative measure. It is calculated by measuring the the number of practice opportunities needed for a person to achieve the pre-established criterion.

  • Type 1 error
    Also known as a false positive result. This is stating that an intervention worked when in fact it did not.

  • Type 2 error
    Also known as a false negative result. This is stating that an intervention did not work when in fact it did.

  • Unconditioned Motivating Operation
    Also known as UMO. A motivating operation that does not depend on a learning history. For example deprivation of food, water, oxygen, activity, sex, and sleep will increase the value of any of these.

  • Unconditioned Punisher
    A stimulus change that, when delivered as a consequence to a behavior, decreases the future probability of that behavior without prior learning experiences (pain is typically considered an unconditioned punisher).

  • Unconditioned Reinforcer
    A stimulus change that, when delivered as a consequence to a behavior, increases the probability of that behavior in the future without the individual having had any experience with that consequence in the past.

  • Validity
    The extent to which we are measuring/analyzing what we say we are analyzing. Measurement must be valid before it even matters whether it is also reliable and accurate (although these other two are important features of sound measurement as well!).

  • Variable Interval
    This is a schedule of reinforcement that provides reinforcement for the first correct response following a predetermined average amount of time. For example, if behavior of completing math problems on a worksheet is reinforced on a VI5 schedule, this means that the child's correct response following an average of 5 minutes will be reinforced.

  • Variable Ratio
    A schedule of reinforcement in which a reinforcer is delivered after an average number of responses has occurred. For instance, a teacher may reinforce about every 5th time a child raises their hand in class- sometimes giving attention after 3 hand raises, sometimes 7, etc.

  • VB MAPP
    An assessment developed by Dr. Mark Sundberg and it focuses on the assessment of a students or clients level of verbal behavior.

  • Verbal Behavior
    Verbal behavior describes a unique way of thinking about communication and language from an operant/behavior analytic perspective. Verbal behavior was coined by BF Skinner and refers to behaviors which are reinforced by persons in the verbal community that have been specifically trained to provide this type of reinforcement. This is a different way of thinking about what is verbal" and what is "Nonverbal" because the topography

  • Whole Interval Recording
    A type of discontinuous measurement where you only mark that a behavior occurs during an interval if it occurs for the entire interval. This underestimates behavior.

  • Withdrawal Design
    A withdrawal design is a simple, two condition single-subject design in which a treatment is introduced and then removed/withdrawn in order to assess whether the intervention controls the dependent variable.