Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cynthia M. Anderson.


Few studies have demonstrated conclusively that the use of punishment in the presence of an antecedent stimulus can bring responding under control of that stimulus. The purpose of this study was to determine stereotypy could be controlled by antecedent stimuli due to a differential history of punishment, and, if so, whether participants would then request the stimulus correlated with nonpunishment. Three adults with mental retardation participated. In Experiment 1, analog functional analyses were conducted to develop hypotheses about the effects of environmental variables on participants' repetitive behaviors. Results of Experiment 1 suggested that the responding of all participants likely was sensory maintained. The purpose of Experiment 2 was to determine whether responding could be brought under antecedent stimulus control using punishment. Obtained results suggest that stimulus control was achieved with all participants. The purpose of Experiment 3 was to determine whether participants would acquire a response maintained by access to the stimulus conditions correlated with nonpunishment, and if a practical intervention for stereotypy then could be developed. Results suggest that for two of three participants, such a mand was acquired and for all participants, practical interventions using stimulus control and mand training were developed. Overall, results obtained in this study contribute to the literature by demonstrating that it is possible to obtain antecedent stimulus control using punishment. The results have implications for the development of antecedent interventions for stereotypy, as it may be possible to control responding such that it occurs only in situations where it is "appropriate" (e.g., when the individual is alone).