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Behav Modif. 2001 Apr;25(2):189-213.

An experimental analysis of aggression.

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  • 1Louisiana State University, USA.


Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman developed an assessment method to identify the operant functions of self-injurious behavior. In this study, a similar method was used to assess the operant functions of aggression displayed by children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Although previous research has shown that aggression is an operant behavior, there has been no comprehensive analysis of aggression using analog functional analysis method. Eight children and adolescents participated. The experimental conditions involved attention, escape, materials, no interaction, and control. Results for 7 of the 8 participants identified clear operant functions (positive or negative reinforcement) for aggression. For 1 child, subsequent analyses suggested that aggression was possibly sensitive to peer attention as reinforcement.

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