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Isolating the evocative and abative effects of an establishing operation on challenging behavior

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 18:01 authored by O'Reilly, MF, Edrisinha, C, Sigafoos, J, Lancioni, G, Andrews, A
Establishing operations (EO) influence operant responding by altering the reinforcing effectiveness of consequences (reinforcer establishing or abolishing effect) and changing the frequency of behavior that has been reinforced by those consequences in the past (evocative or abative effect) (Michael, 1982, 1993). In this study we attempted to isolate the evocative and abative effects of an EO for positively reinforced challenging behavior with a person with autism and developmental disabilities. The study consisted of three phases. First, an analogue functional analysis identified attention as maintaining challenging behavior. Second, access to attention was systematically controlled (continuous access versus no access) immediately prior to functional analysis sessions in which the participant received attention on an FR1 schedule. Results of this phase indicated that challenging behavior occurred at higher levels during the functional analysis sessions when access to attention was restricted immediately prior to sessions (i.e., no access appeared to function as an EO). In the third phase, prior access to attention was again controlled as in the second phase of the study, however the participant was then placed on extinction. The results of this final phase seem to indicate that no access to the reinforcer prior to extinction had an evocative effect (produced high levels of responding) whereas access to the reinforcer had an abative effect (produced lower levels of responding) during extinction sessions. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Publication title

Behavioral Interventions: theory and practice in residential and community-based clinical programs








Faculty of Education


John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Inclusive education

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