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Avoidance Training

Avoidance training is a procedure for maintaining or increasing the future likelihood of a behavior. In avoidance training, a behavior that delays or cancels the onset of an aversive stimulus becomes more likely to occur in the future (i.e., the behavior is reinforced). The procedure is based on the principle of negative reinforcement. It is similar to escape training, in that negative reinforcement strengthens an operant response. However, the discriminative stimulus (SD) in avoidance training, which may be neutral or arbitrary, produces its effect through pairing with the aversive stimulus. Over trials, direct exposure to the aversive stimulus is not necessary to maintain avoidance responses.

The avoidance training procedure produces increases in the frequency of the trained behavior within the training context. Because the ...

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