A Brief Experimental Analysis of Reinforcer and Response Dimensions Related to Self-Control in an Outpatient Clinic

Terry S. Falcomata, Linda J. Cooper-Brown, David P. Wacker, Andrew W. Gardner, Eric W. Boelter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


We conducted an assessment of self-control and impulsivity with 9 children referred to an outpatient clinic for impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive behaviors. Each condition of the assessment consisted of a choice between 2 concurrently presented math or writing tasks, with 1 alternative reflecting impulsive responding and 1 alternative reflecting self-control. For the participants who demonstrated impulsive responding in 1 of 2 baseline conditions, we systematically varied reinforcer quality, delay to reinforcement, and response effort to evaluate the effects of these dimensions on the participants' choices. Results of the assessment revealed that 3 participants displayed self-control responding, and 6 participants displayed impulsive responding during baseline conditions. Of the participants who displayed initial impulsivity, all showed self-control when 1 or more response or reinforcement dimensions were modified to bias responding within a brief multielement design. Results provide a unique application of concurrent schedules for conducting a brief assessment of impulsive responding in an outpatient clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-272
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010



  • ADHD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Impulsivity
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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