On the relative contributions of noncontingent reinforcement and escape extinction in the treatment of food refusal

Gregory K. Reed, Cathleen C. Piazza, Meeta R. Patel, Stacy A. Layer, Melanie H. Bachmeyer, Stephanie D. Bethke, Katharine A. Gutshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


In the current investigation, we evaluated the relative effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), escape extinction, and a combination of NCR and escape extinction as treatment for the feeding problems exhibited by 4 children. For each participant, consumption increased only when escape extinction was implemented, independent of whether NCR was present or absent. These results were consistent with prior research suggesting that positive reinforcement alone is insufficient for increasing consumption, and that escape extinction often is necessary to increase and maintain food acceptance. However, NCR appeared to decrease inappropriate behavior for some participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-42
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004



  • Escape extinction
  • Food refusal
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Noncontingent reinforcement
  • Pediatric feeding disorders
  • Positive reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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