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J Appl Behav Anal. 2006 Fall;39(3):263-80.

Analysis of factors that affect responding in a two-response chain in children with developmental disabilities.

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Department of Behavioral Psychology, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


A sequence of behaviors consisting of appropriate responses, inappropriate responses, or a combination of both can be linked together in a behavior chain. Several operant processes may disrupt behavior chains. For example, one or more members of the behavior chain may be affected when reinforcement is withheld for the last response in the chain (extinction), when the last response is reinforced even if it occurs without the other responses in the chain (unchaining), or when access to the terminal reinforcer is available independent of responding (satiation). However, few studies have examined the effects of these types of procedures on responding that occurs in the context of behavior chains. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of three clinically relevant procedures and processes (i.e., extinction, satiation, and unchaining) on behaviors that occur as part of a behavior chain. Overall, extinction and satiation resulted in a decrease in both responses in the chain. During the unchaining procedure, decreases were observed in the first response in the chain but not in the second response.

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