Whenever a void is created by doing away with a behavior, it is
important to be sure that reasonable, valued and desirable behavior
takes its place. Work on strengthening the desired responses.
The behavioral analysis will take an hour or so a day for a couple
of weeks. Depending on the frequency of the response, it will take 2 to
4 weeks of extinction. Assuring that there are no pay offs may take
only a few minutes each day.
Effectivenss, advantages and dangers
Research on the extinction of crying, tantrums, disruptive
behavior, self-injury, vomiting, bizarre behavior, excessive questions,
"fits," etc. has shown some success (Bellack and Hersen, 1977). Many
studies of crying young children and disruptive school children have
shown that ignoring the behavior works quickly, indicating that
attention is often the reinforcement for these behaviors (Miller, 1975).
Little is known about self-extinction.
Compared to punishment, extinction is likely to be less stressful
and perhaps easier to carry out. But it takes longer (because all
reinforcement has to be stopped), so punishment may be more
humane in some situations, like self-abuse. There are probably fewer
side effects and dangers with extinction.
References cited in this chapter are listed in the Bibliography (see
link on the book title page). Please note that references are on pages
according to the first letter of the senior author's last name (see
alphabetical links at the bottom of the main Bibliography page).