A preliminary procedure for predicting the positive and negative effects of reinforcement-based procedures

Cathleen C. Piazza, Wayne W. Fisher, Gregory P. Hanley, Kellie Hilker, K. Mark Derby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


In the current investigation, a modification was made to the preference assessment described by Pace, Ivancic, Edwards, Iwata, and Page (1985) to predict the effects of stimuli when used in a differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) schedule for 2 clients with severe self-injurious behavior (SIB) and profound mental retardation. Based on the results of the preference assessment, three types of stimuli were identified: (a) high-preference stimuli associated with high rates of SIB (HP/HS), (b) high-preference stimuli associated with relatively lower rates of SIB (HP/LS), and (c) low-preference stimuli associated with low rates of SIB (LP/LS). Consistent with the results of the preference assessment, the DRO schedule with HP/HS stimuli resulted in increased SIB, and the DRO schedule with LP/LS stimuli resulted in no changes in SIB. HP/LS stimuli were demonstrated reinforcers but did not result in a change in SIB when used in a DRO schedule. Thus, the stimulus preference assessment may be useful clinically in some situations for predicting both the beneficial and the negative side effects of stimuli in DRO procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996



  • Developmental disabilities
  • Differential reinforcement of other behavior
  • Negative side effects
  • Preference
  • Reinforcement
  • Self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this