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Reinforcer Assessment

The quality / power of reinforcement can be determined with a reinforcer assessment.  A variety of direct, data-based methods are used to present one or more stimuli contingent on a target response and then measuring the future effects on the rate of responding.

  • Concurrent schedule of reinforcer assessment: pits two stimuli against each other to see which will produce the larger increase in responding when presented as a consequence for responding.  The more effective reinforcer is the one that has more responses.
  • Multiple schedule reinforcer assessment: reinforcers are delivered for the same behavior, on the same schedule but at different times; an SD is present to signal which schedule is in effect.  The more effective reinforcer is the one associated with the session with the highest rate of behavior.
  • Progressive schedule: response requirements for reinforcement are increased systematically independent of responding.  The practitioner gradually requires more responses to receive reinforcement until a breaking point is reached and responding declines. A progressive ratio increases the behavior that must be emitted before receiving reinforcement.  The reinforcers that produce the most behavior are considered the most reinforcing.

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