Comparing the Effects of Noncontingent Reinforcement and Environmental Enrichment on Problem Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement
Environmental enrichment (EE) and noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) are common behavior analytic interventions used to decrease problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. Both EE and NCR involve noncontingent access to preferred or competing stimuli, however, access to stimuli is intermittent (typically on a fixed-time [FT] schedule) in NCR, while in EE, the stimuli are continuously available. Despite the research on their effectiveness at reducing problem behavior, they have not been compared. The purpose of the current study was to compare the effectiveness of different schedules of reinforcement at decreasing automatically maintained problem behavior (stereotypy) and anxiety exhibited by two children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Three interventions were compared: lean NCR (FT-60s), dense NCR (FT-30s), and EE (continuous access). The results showed that EE was the most effective at reducing stereotypy for both participants.