Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Resistance to disruption in a classroom setting

UMMS Affiliation

Shriver Center; Center for Health Policy and Research; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Child; Child, Preschool; Conditioning, Operant; Developmental Disabilities; Humans; Male; Reinforcement (Psychology); Reproducibility of Results; Schools; Treatment Outcome; Verbal Behavior


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Educational Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior


Substantial experimental evidence indicates that behavior reinforced on a denser schedule is more resistant to disruption than is behavior reinforced on a thinner schedule. The present experiment studied resistance to disruption in a natural educational environment. Responding during familiar activities was reinforced on a multiple variable-interval (VI) 7-s VI 30-s schedule for 6 participants with developmental disabilities. Resistance to disruption was measured by presenting a distracting item. Response rates in the disruption components were compared to within-session response rates in prior baseline components. Results were consistent with the predictions of behavioral momentum theory for 5 of 6 participants.

DOI of Published Version



Parry-Cruwys DE, Neal CM, Ahearn WH, Wheeler EE, Premchander R, Loeb MB, Dube WV. Resistance to disruption in a classroom setting. J Appl Behav Anal. 2011 Summer;44(2):363-7. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2011.44-363. PubMed PMID: 21709794; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3120074. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of applied behavior analysis

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID