Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Generalization and Maintenance

  • Brooke IngersollEmail author
  • Allison Wainer
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_275-3


The term generalization, defined most broadly (Stokes and Baer 1977), is used to describe when skills learned in a training environment transfer to the natural environment after training has ended. Generalization, in its more narrow definition, is a behavioral term that is used to describe the spread of effect of a training procedure to untrained stimuli and responses, as well as the durability of treatment effects over time. Generalization includes three specific forms: Stimulus generalization, response generalization, and maintenance. Stimulus generalization involves the occurrence of a behavior in response to another similar stimulus. For example, a child who learns to say “ball” (behavior) in response to a picture of a ball (trained stimulus) shows stimulus generalization if he says “ball” in response to an actual ball (new stimulus). Response generalization involves the spread of an effect of a trained response to other similar responses. For example, a child who is...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryRush Medical CollegeChicagoUSA