By Arnold P. Goldstein
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Additional info for In Response to Aggression. Methods of Control and Prosocial Alternatives
B. ) Well J o e , you look like y o u ' r e having a good time t o d a y . I like the w a y that you waited your turn and asked Billy to t h r o w the ball to you. Joe: Y e a h . I like this g a m e . Discussion. In A, the teacher m a d e a very c o m m o n mistake. She failed to reinforce J o e for behaving appropriately during a period of 20 minutes. P r e s u m a b l y , she w a s waiting for him to be good for the entire playground period before praising him. In B, the teacher reinforced J o e ' s cooperative behavior after 5 minutes of nonaggressive activity.
T h e m o t h e r ignores b o t h the first and second t a n t r u m s by busying herself with h o u s e w o r k and cooking while the child is acting u p . Discussion. In A, the m o t h e r has used extinction inconsistently. She ignored the first incident but attended to the second. T h u s , the aggressive behavior w a s being intermittently reinforced. Intermittently reinforced b e h a v i o r s , it will be recalled, show m u c h greater resistance to extinction. T h e m o t h e r has therefore inadvertently m a d e the behavior w o r s e .
In B , all relevant adults w e r e consistent in their use of extinction. T h e aggressive behavior will therefore be eliminated m o r e quickly. Skill 6: Maintaining Extinction for a Long Enough Period of Time for the Procedure to Work. One c o m m o n mistake is for an adult to discontinue extinction if the p r o c e d u r e does not w o r k immediately. T h e following points should be kept in mind w h e n employing extinction: A. Extinction p r o d u c e s a gradual reduction in the frequency of behavior especially in the case of behaviors that have b e e n intermittently reinforced in the past.