Effects of and preference for conditions of token earn versus token loss

Jeanne M. Donaldson, Iser G. Deleon, Alyssa B. Fisher, Sungwoo Kahng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The effects of earning and losing tokens on the disruptive behavior of 12 first-grade students were evaluated under symmetrical contingencies of earn and loss. Both contingencies produced decreases in disruptive behavior. For some participants, more consistent decreases were observed during the loss contingency. In addition, participants generally earned or kept more tokens during the loss contingency. When offered a choice of contingencies, most participants preferred the loss contingency. The results showed some consistency with behavioral economic principles of loss aversion and the endowment effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-548
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • loss aversion
  • positive reinforcement
  • response cost
  • tokens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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