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← Behavioral therapies and token economy - Intro to Psychology

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Showing Revision 2 created 05/24/2016 by Udacity Robot.

  1. A key idea to many behavioral therapies is the use of reinforcement to shape
  2. and change behavior. However, other techniques are used, such as extinction,
  3. and this was used in the study I just talked about with the psychiatric nurse
  4. as a behavioral engineer. They used extinction to decrease symptoms of
  5. schizophrenia, but let's look at a different type of therapy that uses
  6. reinforcement. One successful ABA technique that is used by behavioral
  7. therapists, is a token economy. And here desired behaviors are reinforced with
  8. a token. That could be something like a sticker, a star on the board or some
  9. type of chip. These tokens are accumulated, and can later be exchanged for
  10. other items or privileges. For example, a child with ADHD may be put on a token
  11. economy. Wherein he gets a token for every homework assignment that he
  12. completes on time. After he accumulates 5 stars, he gets 10 extra minutes of
  13. recess. Moreover, if he earns 10 stars he gets to go on the field trip with the
  14. class. The token economy technique has been found to be especially effective in
  15. treating drug addiction. So, let's look at example of that. Steven Higgins and
  16. his colleagues conducted a series of studies, where they gave cocaine dependent
  17. participants tokens for each drug free urine sample that they provided. In some
  18. of the studies, the value of the tokens increased for each consecutive drug
  19. free sample. So for example, perhaps the first token was worth $0.25, if they
  20. provided a drug free urine on the next day it would be increased to $0.50. On
  21. the third day if they provided a drug free sample it would go to $0.75. Now
  22. remember these were just tokens, they didn't earn actual money, and part of
  23. this was because they wanted to make sure that the tokens could be exchanged
  24. for appropriate items. Meaning they didn't want to give these individuals money
  25. and perhaps risk them taking that money and going out and buying drugs. So
  26. again, if drugs were found in the urine, the value of the token decreased to
  27. the original starting value. So again if they had consecutive drug free urines,
  28. the token value increased each time. But if drugs were found in the urine, it
  29. went back to the original starting value. In these studies the researchers
  30. found a significant decrease in drug using. Especially compared to other
  31. therapies such as narcotics anonimous. These individuals spent longer time
  32. drug-free, than individuals in those other treatments. Given the success of
  33. these types of studies, this behavioral approach has been listed by the
  34. National Institute of Drug Abuse as the best option for drug addiction, along
  35. with medication.