The authors examined the behavior-altering effect of the motivating operation on challenging behavior during leisure activities for three individuals with severe disabilities. Prior functional analyses indicated that positive reinforcement in the form of attention or tangible items maintained challenging behavior for all participants. During leisure sessions, each participant played preferred games (cards, jigsaws) with two individuals without disabilities. The discriminative stimuli for challenging behavior were present during leisure sessions, but challenging behavior was never reinforced. Immediately prior to leisure sessions, the participants received either access to the reinforcers that maintained challenging behavior or no access. Access versus no access was alternated in a multielement design. Results demonstrated higher levels of challenging behavior during leisure sessions when the participants did not have access to the reinforcers prior to the sessions. Little challenging behavior occurred during leisure sessions when the participants had prior access to the reinforcers. The article presents arguments for further examining the behavior-altering effects of the motivating operation in future applied research.
O’Reilly, M. F., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Rispoli, M., Lang, R., Chan, J., . . . Langthorne, P. (2008). Manipulating the behavior-altering effect of the motivating operation: Examination of the influence on challenging behavior during leisure activities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 29, 333–340.