A fourth term to the contingency, which is the consequence for the behavior. This could be a reward or a punishment depending on the desired outcome of the behavior.

Three-term contingency

Contingency in operant conditioning

The three-term contingency (also known as ABC contingency) at the operant conditioning-or Contingency Management— describes the relationship between a behavior, its consequence, and the environmental context. The three-term contingency was first defined by BF Skinner in the early 1950s. It is often used within TAB to alter the frequency of socially meaningful human behavior.

Components

Background

The antecedent stimulus occurs first in the contingency and signals that reinforcement or punishment is available in the contingency of a specific behavior. AN discriminative stimulusor SDdirectly affects the probability of occurrence of a specific response.

Behavior

The behavior, also called a response, is any observable and measurable action that a living organism can take. In the three-term contingency, the behavior is operant, meaning that it changes the environment in some way.

Consequence

Diagram of consequences in operant conditioning

The consequence of a behavior can be reinforcing or punitive. reinforcing consequences increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur in the future; It is further divided into positive and negative reinforcement. punishing consequences decrease the likelihood that a behavior will occur in the future; like reinforcement, it is divided into positive and negative punishment. An example of punishment might include spanking (positive punishment) and taking away something wanted or loved (negative punishment).

The effectiveness and value of a consequence are determined by the motivating operations the organism has. For example, food deprivation can make foods more effective as a consequence, and hunger satiety can make foods less effective as a consequence.

References


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