Motivating Operations and Terms to Describe Them: Some Further Refinements

Sean Laraway, Susan Snycerski, Jack Michael, Alan Poling 2003


Over the past decade, behavior analysts have increasingly used the term establishing operation (EO) to refer to environmental events that influence the behavioral effects of operant consequences. Nonetheless, some elements of current terminology regarding EOs may interfere with applied behavior analysts’ efforts to predict, control, describe, and understand behavior. The present paper (a) describes how the current conceptualization of the EO is in need of revision, (b) suggests alternative terms, including the generic term motivating operation (MO), and (c) provides examples of MOs and their behavioral effects using articles from the applied behavior analysis literature.

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