Startbutton contingencies

What if my learner doesn’t say “yes”?

Published by: Eva & Emelie Carpe Momentum

A question we often get is “But, what if my learner doesn’t say ‘yes’?”

The short and sweet answer is: “Listen to the no!” Make sure to pay attention already to the very small no. And for next time, change the question and make it so easy your learner will happily say yes!

We do realize that the matter might deserve a bit more exploration, though. So here are some further thoughts from us, viewing the question from a couple of different perspectives.

In the very beginning of the process, the ‘yes’ (the start button behavior) just hasn’t been established yet. At this stage no worries, just shape the behavior in small increments. When starting from a pairing procedure, that means looking for any tiny behavior that can be established as the start button behavior. Possibly also use a more valuable reinforcer to make the game worthwhile!

So, in the flow of the session, if the start button behavior doesn’t happen, first just wait a little and let your learner explore. If still nothing, redirect so that he can get to some other reinforcing activity (in the early stage of ‘pairing procedure with a twist’ that means start pairings again without looking for any start button, or take a break by doing something else for a bit).

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