Further analysis of problem behavior in response class hierarchies

David M. Richman, David P. Wacker, Jennifer M. Asmus, Sean D. Casey, Marc Andelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A functional analysis identified the reinforcers for 3 participants' problem behavior, but only relatively mild problem behaviors (e.g., screaming, disruption) were observed when all topographies produced tested consequences. We then conducted an extinction analysis in which specific topographies produced a reinforcer while all other topographies were on extinction. The extinction analysis confirmed that the same reinforcer identified in the initial functional analysis maintained more severe topographies of problem behavior (e.g., aggression). In addition, results of the extinction analysis indicated that 2 of the participants displayed patterns of responding consistent with a response class hierarchy hypothesis, in which less severe problem behavior frequently occurred prior to more severe topographies. The 3rd participant displayed a response pattern indicative of differential reinforcement effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Aberrant behavior
  • Covariation
  • Extinction
  • Functional analysis
  • Response class
  • Response class hierarchies


Dive into the research topics of 'Further analysis of problem behavior in response class hierarchies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this