Reinforcement Delay and Across-Setting Generalization in an Intermediate School Special Class

Robyn S. Dixon, Anne Fitzharris, Dennis W. Moore

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This study investigated the effect of delayed reinforcement on the across-setting generalization of behaviour change. Eight children aged between 11 and 13, members of a special class at an intermediate school, served as subjects. Off-task behaviour was monitored during two classroom lessons: the contingent lesson, performance in which determined subsequent reinforcement, and the generalization lesson, in which no reinforcement contingencies were provided. Two forms of delayed reinforcement: early — delivered immediately following the setting in which the critical behaviour occurred — and late — delivered only after several other settings had been encountered — were sequentially presented in an ABCB design. Off-task behaviour decreased under both reinforcement conditions. However generalization was only evident when the late delayed reinforcement was operating. Results suggest that a temporal delay in the delivery of reinforcement is more likely to lead to generalization of behaviour change than is the delivery of reinforcement immediately following the contingent lesson.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalBehaviour Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

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