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Do Punishment Contingencies Belong in Functional Treatment?

2 hours, 36 minutes
3.0 BACB
Ennio Cipani, PhD

We worry so much about how to make the replacement behavior more functional, but you also have to make the target behavior less functional.

Ennio Cipani, PhD


There is no shortage of aberrant behaviors that analysts will have to intervene on throughout their careers. As behavior analysts, we look to assess and analyze the function of behaviors and to use this information to develop an effective intervention. It is common practice to consider the use of non-aversive interventions to address problem behavior. However, implementing extinction or targeting the reinforcement of a replacement behavior may not always be practical. Depending on the behavior, it also may not be safe to allow a child to engage in the behavior at all. In cases like this, a punishment procedure would need to be considered, but due to the nature of punishment, it is important to understand the most appropriate method.

Learning Objectives

What you’ll learn in the course and be able to do afterward

  1. Define function-based diagnostics as well as describe the categories of analysis.
  2. Identify when extinction is impractical and how to provide a compelling case in favor of using a punishing or aversive stimulus.


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