A Methodology for Maintaining Low Levels of Attention-Maintained Problem Behaviors Following Variable-Time Schedule Thinning

F. Charles Mace, Amanda N. Zangrillo, Kevin Prager, Elaine Carolan, Marguerite Hoerger, Karen Thomas, Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Variable-time (VT) schedules of reinforcement deliver reinforcers contingent on the passage of a specified average amount of time. VT schedules that arrange for frequent reinforcer deliveries have been effective in producing immediate suppression of elevated levels of target behaviors. However, dense schedules may not be practical for caregivers and staff and a systematic methodology for thinning VT schedules is needed. This study employed VT schedules of attention to reduce attention-maintained problem behavior in a 14-year-old male. Following reduction in attention-maintained problem behaviors, the VT schedule was thinned. Results showed that a return to continuous attention following re-emergence of behaviors during schedule thinning resulted in maintenance of low levels of these behaviors and high levels of activity engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Behavior Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • VT schedules
  • attention-maintained behavior
  • response covariation
  • schedule thinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this