Effects of the High-Probability Request Procedure: Patterns of Responding to Low-Probability Requests

Jennifer J. McComas, David P. Wacker, Linda J. Cooper, Stephanie Peck, Zbigniew Golonka, Thomas Millard, David Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The effects of high probability (high-p) requests on compliance with low-probability (low-p) responses have received increasing attention in investigations aimed at increasing compliance. Differential effects of high-p treatments and at least three distinct patterns of responding to low-p requests have been presented in recent literature. We present a series of case studies with three children who had developmental disabilities and who displayed severe noncompliance. The effects of high-p treatments across several topographies of behavior in a variety of settings are representative of the three patterns presented in recent literature. In Pattern 1, increased compliance to low-p requests was most likely when compliance with high-p requests immediately preceded the low-p requests. In Pattern 2, compliance with low-p requests initially occurred differentially immediately following compliance with high-p requests, but across sessions these effects were sustained in the absence of the high-p requests. In Pattern 3, compliance with high-p requests did not result in compliance with subsequent low-p requests and compliance to high-p requests also decreased across sessions. This paper provides case illustrations of these patterns, a discussion of hypotheses regarding the basis for these differential effects, and implications for future analyses involving high-p procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-171
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Behavioral momentum
  • Behavioral pediatrics
  • High-probability requests
  • Noncompliance
  • Stimulus control


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