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Contingencies in Educational Settings

Description of Strategies

Contingencies describe the “if-then” relationship between a behavior (B), an environmental antecedent condition (A), and a consequence (C). For example, during independent seatwork (A), a student leaves his seat without permission (B), and the teacher yells at the student (C). Provided that the yelling was delivered because the student left his seat, a contingent relationship exists between the behavior and the consequence.

Contingencies often are described by their effect on the behavior reoccurring in the future and the effect the behavior has on the environment. If the contingency increases the probability of the behavior recurring under similar conditions, then it functions as reinforcement. If the contingency decreases the recurrence of the behavior, it functions as punishment. If a stimulus ...

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