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Token Economy

Description of the Strategy

A token economy is a treatment procedure based on the principles of operant conditioning. The primary goal of the token economy is to increase and maintain appropriate behavior, although a response-cost procedure is sometimes added to reduce problem behavior. The basic premise of the token economy is fairly straightforward—children earn “tokens” (e.g., points) for appropriate behavior and, at a later time, exchange the tokens for “backup” reinforcers (e.g., extended recess time). With an added response-cost component, children would also lose tokens for engaging in problem behavior. Although response-cost procedures are frequently implemented within token economies, it is beyond the scope of this entry to address the topic in sufficient detail. Therefore, this entry will be devoted to the token ...

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