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Functional Analysis

Description of the Strategy

Operant researchers define functional analysis as an evaluation of response-reinforcer relations. Behavioral function refers to the effects that behavior has on the environment and, specifically, the reinforcers that occur as a consequence of the behavior. Analysis refers to the identification of a causal relationship; in this case, between a response and reinforcement. Thus, a functional analysis is the identification of a causal relationship between a response and the reinforcers that strengthen that response.

Since the 1980s, the term functional analysis has most often been used in applied behavior analysis to refer to a specific behavioral assessment procedure for identifying the reinforcers that maintain problem behavior. In particular, functional analysis procedures have been used extensively to evaluate severe problem behaviors, ...

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