Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Claire St. Peter

Committee Co-Chair

Kennon Lattal

Committee Member

Kennon Lattal

Committee Member

JoNell Strough

Committee Member

Nicole Engelke Infante


Resurgence is the recurrence of a previously reinforced response after a more recently reinforced response is placed on extinction. Resurgence may explain the recurrence of socially appropriate behavior, including academic responding, but this had not yet been empirically demonstrated. The aim of this study was to determine if resurgence would occur when a participant solved quadratic equations using multiple methods. Each participant was taught two methods of solving quadratic equations across experimental phases, followed by a phase in which neither method resulted in the correct solution. In the first phase, only simple factoring was reinforced. In the second phase, only the AC method was reinforced. In the third phase, neither of these methods was reinforced (both were placed on extinction). Half of the participants attempted to use simple factoring to solve an equation in the third phase, but the extent to which this recurrence constituted resurgence was unclear. The lack of consistent intersubject replication indicates that an uncontrolled variable may be affecting the likelihood that a response will persist in an individual’s repertoire. Identifying the variables that increase the persistence of a response may inform ways to promote maintenance of academic responses.