Graduation Date

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Dr. Wayne W. Fisher

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda N. Zangrillo


We assessed the differential effects of high- and low-preference stimuli as reinforcers during functional communication training (FCT) on resurgence of destructive behavior during extinction using a multielement design with the components signaled by color-coordinated stimuli. In baseline, analog destructive responding resulted in reinforcement in both components. Next, in the treatment phase, the therapist discontinued reinforcement for the analog destructive response and delivered a high-preference reinforcer for a functional communication response (FCR) in the HIGH component and a low-preference reinforcer for the FCR in the LOW component. In the resurgence test, the therapist discontinued reinforcement for both the FCR and analog destructive response. Three of four participants displayed no resurgence of the analog destructive response in Phase 3 but did display a differential burst in FCRs across components. One participant displayed minimal resurgence of the analog destructive response in both components. We discuss these results relative to resurgence as choice theory.

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