Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Claire St. Peter

Committee Member

Christina Duncan

Committee Member

Kimberly Floyd

Committee Member

Kathryn Kestner

Committee Member

Michael Perone


Reinforcement-based interventions reduce problematic behavior when implemented as designed. However, the effectiveness of these interventions may decrease when deviations from treatment protocols (i.e., treatment-integrity errors) occur. Treatment-integrity errors differentially impact reinforcement-based interventions based on multiple factors, including how frequently errors occur and the intervention type. Even nominally acceptable integrity values (e.g., 80%) may be detrimental depending on the intervention. To evaluate this possibility and directly compare the effectiveness of multiple reinforcement-based interventions, we conducted two within-subject evaluations using laboratory arrangements. For both experiments, we recruited four undergraduate students to participate in a computer task that involved clicking on moving circles to earn points. During Experiment 1, we compared the effectiveness of Fixed-Time Schedules (FT) and Extinction (i.e., Noncontingent Reinforcement) and Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA) when implemented at 80% integrity. During Experiment 2, we compared the effectiveness of ratio-based DRA (DRA with a ratio schedule maintaining alternative behavior) and interval-based DRA (DRA with an interval schedule maintaining alternative behavior). Results were idiosyncratic across participants. However, DRA with a ratio schedule was the only consistently effective intervention when implemented at 80% integrity; neither FT nor interval-based DRA were consistently effective when implemented at 80% integrity. Implications for research on effects of treatment-integrity errors and applied practice are discussed.