A method for identifying satiation versus extinction effects under noncontingent reinforcement schedules

Sung Woo Kahng, Brian A. Iwata, Rachel H. Thompson, Gregory P. Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We evaluated one method for determining whether response suppression under noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) is a function of satiation or extinction. Three individuals with developmental disabilities who engaged in self-injurious behavior (SIB) or aggression participated. Results of functional analyses indicated that their problem behavior was maintained by social-positive reinforcement. NCR procedures, individualized for each participant, were implemented in a multiple baseline across subjects design and were associated with decreases in all participants' problem behavior. Identification of the mechanism by which NCR produced these effects was based on examination of cumulative records showing response patterns during and immediately following each NCR session. Satiation during NCR should lead to a temporary increase in responding during the post-NCR (extinction) period due to a transition from the availability to the unavailability of reinforcement (satiation to deprivation). Alternatively, extinction during NCR should reveal no increase in responding during the extinction period because the contingency for the problem behavior would remain unchanged and the transition from satiation to deprivation conditions would be irrelevant. Results suggested that the operative mechanisms of NCR were idiosyncratic across the 3 participants and appeared to change during treatment for 1 of the participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-431
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Extinction
  • Functional analysis
  • Noncontingent reinforcement
  • Satiation
  • Self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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