Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Extinction Procedures

  • Mary Jane WeissEmail author
  • Samantha Russo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1137-3


Extinction refers to the process of discontinuing the reinforcer that historically follows a behavior (Cooper et al. 2007).

Historical Background

In operant psychology, behavior is influenced by both the stimuli that occur prior to and following it. The stimuli that follow behaviors are consequences. Consequences influence behavior in three ways – consequences can increase (strength rate, frequency, etc.), decrease, or have no influence on strength. A reinforcing consequence results in an increased strength (or frequency or rate) of that behavior. Similar to the presentation of a reinforcer strengthening a behavior, removal of the reinforcer (or preventing it from occurring) that follows a behavior will have a weakening effect on that behavior; it will reduce in strength (or frequency or rate).

Historically, the treatment of challenging behaviors that interfere with developing independence or adaptive skills has focused on the application of punitive consequences that reduce...

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References and Readings

  1. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  2. Dawson, J. E., Piazza, C. C., Sevin, B. M., Gulotta, C. S., Lerman, D., & Kelley, M. L. (2003). Use of the high-probability instructional sequence and escape extinction in a child with food refusal. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36(1), 105–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. LaRue, R. H., Stewart, V., Piazza, C. C., Volkert, V. M., Patel, M. R., & Zeleny, J. (2011). Escape as reinforcement and escape extinction in the treatment of feeding problems. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(4), 719–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Patel, M. R., Piazza, C. C., Martinez, C. J., Volkert, V. M., & Santana, C. M. (2002). An evaluation of two differential reinforcement procedures with escape extinction to treat food refusal. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(4), 363–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Piazza, C. C., Patel, M. R., Gulotta, C. S., Sevin, B. M., & Layer, S. A. (2003). On the relative contributions of positive reinforcement and escape extinction in the treatment of food refusal. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36(3), 309–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Rincover, A., Cook, R., Peoples, A., & Packard, D. (1979). Sensory extinction and sensory reinforcement principles for programming multiple adaptive behavior change. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 12(2), 221–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral StudiesEndicott CollegeBeverlyUSA
  2. 2.Endicott CollegeBeverlyUSA