Graduation Date

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Brian D. Greer

Second Advisor

Wayne F. Fisher

Third Advisor

Kathryn M. Peterson

Fourth Advisor

Amanda N. Zangrillo


Initial rates of destructive behavior tend to be lower when behavior analysts select functional communication responses (FCRs) they can physically guide (e.g., a card-touch FCR). However, destructive behavior may recur at higher rates when FCR materials go missing than when the FCR no longer produces reinforcement. In Experiment 1, we extended prior research by demonstrating less resurgence of target responding when a vocal FCR remained available but no longer produced reinforcement compared to a condition in which neither the alternative response nor reinforcement was available. In contrast to these findings, Experiment 2 replicated other prior research showing that the ability to physically guide a card FCR produced less target responding than when initiating treatment with a vocal FCR. We then evaluated a set of procedures for transitioning the card FCR to the previously unlearned vocal FCR. These findings suggest benefits of training different types of FCRs at different stages of treatment and they provide a set of procedures for transitioning between FCRs while occasioning minimal target responding.