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Motivational Systems Chap 26. Traditional Views of “Motivation” Contrary to the behavior analytic view, motivation was traditionally held to be a non-measurable.

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Presentation on theme: "Motivational Systems Chap 26. Traditional Views of “Motivation” Contrary to the behavior analytic view, motivation was traditionally held to be a non-measurable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Motivational Systems Chap 26

2 Traditional Views of “Motivation” Contrary to the behavior analytic view, motivation was traditionally held to be a non-measurable “inner state” or “will” that leads to desire (or lack of) to engage in a behavior Many educators believe that the motivation to learn is naturally present in children (“intrinsic”) and is harmed by using external “rewards” (reinforcement procedures) to increase engagement in certain behaviors A very influential book makes just such a claim…


4 Detrimental Effects of Rewards (Motivational Systems)? “ External” motivational systems have been claimed to cause all sorts of problems: – reduced creativity – reduced self-esteem – feelings of being controlled – reduced intrinsic motivation – dependency on rewards – dependency on others for “self-concept” – failure of skills to generalize

5 Rewarded by Rewards? When properly identified, implemented, and monitored, however, “external” motivational systems are the MOST effective means to teaching many varied skills to children and… Research has shown that, when used skillfully, motivational systems do NOT cause any detrimental effects (Cameron, Banko, & Pierce, 2001; Cameron & Pierce, 1994, 2002; Eisenberger & Cameron, 1996).


7 Motivation Basics: Reinforcement According to the behavior analytic view, motivation is simply the likelihood that someone will engage in a behavior One of the most powerful ways to increase that likelihood (motivation) is through the use of reinforcement procedures Reinforcement states that if a particular behavior produces a favorable outcome, then that behavior is more likely to occur again in the future (In other words, the person is more “motivated” to engage in that behavior again)

8 Reinforcement Basics CONTINGENCY – delivery of the favorable outcome (the “reinforcer”) DEPENDS on the behavior to produce it (why buy the cow if you can get the milk for nothing?) OUTCOME PREDICTABILIY – learning occurs best when the reinforcer is RELIABLY produced by the behavior IMMEDIACY OF DELIVERY – the sooner the reinforcer occurs after the behavior the better

9 Natural Reinforcers Our daily lives are filled with reinforcers for the behavior we engage in: – Setting an alarm clock gets us up on time – Buying groceries gives us food to eat – Laying out our clothes the night before gets us to work quicker – Approaching our loved ones gives us enjoyment and fulfillment – Watching a comedy makes us laugh – Taking aspirin makes us feel better – Infant crying produces a loving mom or dad

10 Teaching With Reinforcement Although many of our behaviors are reinforced “naturally,” it is desirable to use reinforcement to teach functional skills that are currently very unlikely to occur on their own (but should occur much more frequently) These include behaviors related to social interactions, communication, and interacting appropriately with one’s environment

11 Importance of Reinforcement Contingency management – Engagement in productive behavior is rewarded, engagement in non-productive behavior is not rewarded Management of stereotypy – Matching law (see-saw effect) Reinforcing productive behavior will result in a decrease of non-productive behavior – Increasing reinforcement Communication – Frequent feedback gets relayed to the student

12 Identifying Potential Reinforcers Sampling – Think outside the box (go shopping!) Catalogs – E.g., highlites Variation on a theme – E.g., Bob the Builder Stereotypy – E.g., Visual stereotypy, use water toys

13 Matching Task to Reinforcers Use naturally reinforcing contingencies when possible – E.g., Snacks for eating Important tasks get a specific reinforcer – E.g. verbal imitation, toilet training Reserve a favored reinforcer for specific task – Maintains potency – E.g., M&Ms for bike riding

14 Potency Choice – Multiple reinforcers for multiple tasks – Increase reinforcer breadth – Prevents satiation Single reinforcer with single response – Most powerful reinforcer for most important responses Potty training, language skills, eating – Restricting access increases potency of reward – (Supply and demand)

15 Building Reinforcers Pair Primary Reinforcers with Secondary Reinforcer Secondary reinforcers paired with novel rewards Use Premack Principle to establish new reinforcers – Make engagement with preferred rewards contingent on engagement with less preferred rewards E.g., if a child only likes video, must engage in other activities before earning access to video Skill teaching – Once competent with many activities they eventually become reinforcers E.g., puzzles, bike riding

16 Correct Use of Reinforcement Adventitious Reinforcement Effects – Contingent & Immediate Correct Response and Attending Skills

17 Choice Pre-requisites – Picture/Object Correspondence – Observing response

18 Teaching Choice Select from limited range of objects Select from limited range of pictures Systematically Increase number of pictures – Choice board – Choice book




22 Types of Motivational Systems Direct Reinforcement Token Economy Sticker-Check Board Snacks in a cup Embedded snacks in activity schedule Pennies embedded in activity schedule Contingency Contracting Group Contingencies

23 Types of Motivational Systems Direct Reinforcement

24 Token Economy A behavior change system consisting of – A specified list of target behaviors – Tokens or points that learners receive for emitting target behaviors – Backup reinforcers obtained by exchanging earned tokens Tokens are arbitrary, neutral stimuli which become generalized conditioned reinforcers Use a variety of back up reinforcers to maintain potency of rewards Must be INDIVIDUALIZED!!!

25 Conditioned reinforcers An event object or stimulus that is not initially reinforcing but acquires the properties of a reinforcer after frequent pairing or association with another reinforcer – E.g., ??? – Limitations Can satiate

26 Generalized conditioned reinforcer Paired with a variety of backup reinforcers – E.g., – No satiation – Tokens exchangeable for a wide variety of backup reinforcers have considerable utility – Must frequently access backup reinforcer

27 Common Misconceptions about Generalized Conditioned Reinforcement Reinforcers are generalized because they reinforce a wide range of behavior or can be used to reinforce behavior in a wide range of settings Why false? Generalized conditioned reinforcers is not generalized to behaviors or settings but to many backup reinforcers

28 Why Use a Token System? Saves resources (time, money) Practical – we aren’t always able to deliver the S R immediately after the target behavior Change the learner’s behavior – Less satiation Change the teacher’s behavior – Specify what behaviors are important to change – Increases likelihood of using positive S R Decreases use of aversive procedures

29 Guidelines for Using a Token System Collect baseline data on target behaviors Identify Target Behaviors – Operationally define Define tokens – Easy to administer – Portable – Durable – Safe (nontoxic and can’t be swallowed if this is an issue with the learner) – Can’t be accessed any other way

30 Choosing Tokens They don’t have to have innate value – Poker chip, sticker, coupon, coin – Check mark, hole punch, happy face – Penny, piece of colored paper cut in a certain shape, rubber stamp, button, bean – You can use stimuli that the student is likely to attend to (e.g., letters, Thomas characters) but not too distracting!

31 Other Examples Connect the dots that make a picture of the reinforcer Puzzle pieces that makes a picture Pieces that add to a scene Tokens have the pic of the item being earned Fill in blank spots on a chart

32 After tokens have been identified… Identify backup reinforcers Set up the Exchange – Decide on schedule of token delivery Begin with CRF – Deliver tokens immediately – Deliver praise, smile, eye contact with the token Deliver token when learner is making eye contact if target is social – Decide who will deliver, when, where tokens will be delivered – If not on a board, how will tokens be stored? Cup, box, jar, necklace – Will data be collected? – How much do backup reinforcers cost? Begin with small number of tokens Gradually increase the number of tokens, while increasing the cost, potency, and variety of the backup reinforcers. – With whom, when, and where will tokens be exchanged?

33 After tokens have been identified… Train all users: instruction, modeling, feedback, demonstration of mastery – Make sure system is written down so users can refer to it Response Cost? – Don’t use until tokens are established as conditioned reinforcers Field test your system for several days

34 Using Token Systems with Learners with Limited Language Begin with 1 token and immediately deliver the backup reinforcer when the token is earned Keep the token board in view all the time Place a picture of the item to be earned on the token board Gradually increase the number of tokens – Look for signs that it’s time to increase the number of tokens –take data on this! Good attending to the token board Tokens are functioning as reinforcers Learner initiates sequence Learner tries to “steal” tokens to put on the board Have spaces on the token board that show how many tokens need to be earned to exchange for the backup reinforcer

35 Building Initial Token Systems Direct Reinforcement Trading one Token for a Toy Using multiple tokens



38 Motivational Systems as Behavior Chains Behavior Chain – A specific sequence of responses each associated with a particular stimulus condition – Involves the performance of a specific series of discrete responses – Each response is a conditioned S R and an S D – The responses must be performed in the correct order and in close temporal succession to one another

39 Motivational Systems as Behavior Chains – Earn tokens – Get picture – Put on timer board – Play with toy – Turn off timer – Put toy back – Put timer board back – Put picture in discard pile – Select new choice – Earn tokens

40 Ways to Fade the Token System Plan for this before you begin! Gradually increase the number of responses required to earn a token Make the schedule of token delivery intermittent Gradually decrease the time the system is in effect Make backup reinforcers preferred items that are available in the natural environment Gradually increase cost of most preferred items and keep low preference items cheap Gradually make the token board smaller – To goal of keeping in daily planner, purse, wallet or fading out entirely Gradually increase the delay between target behavior and token delivery No research on which method is best Build in programming for generalization and self-monitoring…in the next few weeks we’ll discuss this.

41 Types of Motivational Systems Sticker-Check Board Snacks in a cup Embedded snacks in activity schedule Pennies embedded in activity schedule


43 Types of Motivational Systems Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior


45 Types of Motivational Systems Behavioral Contract – Document that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of a specified behavior and access to or delivery of a specified reward. – School Note

46 Contingency Contracting Contingency Contract – AKA Behavioral contract – Document that specifies a contingent relationship between the completion of a specified behavior and access to, or delivery of, a specified reward

47 3 Major Components Task – Who…will perform the task – What…is the task to be performed – When…must the task must be completed – How well…must the task be completed Reward – why not reinforcer? – Who…will deliver the reward – What…is the reward – When…will the reward be delivered – How much…reward will be delivered Task Record – include a place for – Task completion – Task reward

48 Consider… Nature of the target behavior –Should already be in the learner’s repertoire –Should produce a permanent product or performed in the presence of someone else Verbal skills of the learner –If learner is a nonreader, he should have good verbal skills –Can use pictures, symbols, audio or videotape

49 Contracts Contracts should be –Fair and realistic –Clearly written Post contracts in a visible place To evaluate, record occurrence of task completion during baseline and during contract Renegotiate contract if necessary Terminate the contract when independent and proficient performance is achieve –And you’re confident it will be maintained

50 Group Contingency Contingency in which a common consequence is delivered contingent upon the behavior of… – One member of the group – Part of the group – Everyone in the group

51 Advantages of Using Group Contingencies Save time Can be used when individual contingencies are impractical – e.g., disruptive behaviors of several students need to be managed Peer influence can be capitalized on to increase motivation

52 Types of Group Contingencies Independent – Reward is delivered only to group members who meet the criteria Dependent – Reward for the whole group is dependent on the performance of an individual – The target student may be known or unknown – Potential problems? Interdependent – All members of the group must meet the criteria for any member to receive the reward – Potential problems?

53 Guidelines Choose rewards that are preferred items for all learners in the group – how? Be absolutely sure each member of the group is capable of performing the target behavior. Make sure some group members do not find it reinforcing to sabotage the whole group The system must minimize the possibility of some members performing the target behavior for others

54 Reinforcement: Potential Pitfalls Termination Rate of Reinforcement – Adjusting rate based on task and skill of learning Satiation Breadth of Reinforcers – Large selection Novelty – Choice – Sample rewards – Rotating rewards Individualization – Number of tokens

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