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Techniques for Decreasing Rates of Inappropriate Responses

Superb Nanny Teaching the Techniques for Decreasing Rates of Inappropriate Responses
As part of operant conditioning, behaviors that have unsatisfying consequences tend to become less frequent. With this mindset, there are techniques that aim to remove satisfying consequences, or reinforcements, in order to mitigate inappropriate responses or behaviors. These include extinction, timeout, response cost and punishment.

Extinction is described as the process of removing satisfying or reinforcing consequences. When reinforcement for any response, appropriate or inappropriate, is withheld, we can expect the probability of that response to be reduced. An example of this is a child throwing a tantrum, and the reinforcement being them getting a toy to make them stop. Extinction can be described as withholding the toy until the child’s behavior is no longer reinforced.


Timeout is described as removing the individual from a situation, eliminating the possibility of reinforcement for a set period of time.

Response Cost
Response Cost

Response cost is when there is a penalty paid for behaving inappropriately, or when there is removal of something the person likes contingent upon an inappropriate response. Examples of this include late fees and speeding violations, where something people value, money, is contingent upon an inappropriate response.


Punishment is described as the delivery of an aversive consequence contingent upon an inappropriate response. Punishment, except under certain circumstances, is not a particularly effective way of eliminating an inappropriate response, as it leads to temporary suppression of an inappropriate behavior—it will return.

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