Translating quantitative theories of behavior into improved clinical treatments for problem behavior

Wayne W. Fisher, Brian D. Greer, Daniel R. Mitteer, Ashley M. Fuhrman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The most important advancement in the treatment of destructive behavior has been the development of the functional analysis, which is used to prescribe effective treatments like functional communication training. Although this approach can be highly effective, extinction bursts and forms of treatment relapse commonly occur when function-based treatments are implemented by caregivers in natural community settings. In recent years, researchers have increasingly applied quantitative theories of behavior like behavioral momentum theory (BMT) and the temporally weighted matching law (TWML) to understand, prevent, or mitigate extinction bursts and treatment relapse. In this paper, we describe BMT and TWML and selectively review the basic, translational, and applied research supporting and opposing each theory. Then, we describe how function-based treatments may be refined based on these theories to improve the effectiveness, generality, and durability of function-based treatments for individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders who display problem behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104639
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Behavioral momentum theory
  • Functional communication training
  • Problem behavior
  • Quantitative theories of behavior
  • Temporally weighted matching law
  • Translational research


Dive into the research topics of 'Translating quantitative theories of behavior into improved clinical treatments for problem behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this