Contingencies of Reinforcement and Behavioral Momentum: Research and Applications

John A. Nevin


A discriminative operant is defined by the combination of an antecedent stimulus, a response, and a reinforcer. The response-reinforcer contingency determines the rate of the response, and the stimulus-reinforcer contingency determined the resis­tance to change of that response rate. The product of response rate and its resis­tance to change is characterized metaphorically as behavioral momentum. This article describes sorne basic research on the determiners of momentum and discus­ses some applications of momentum analyses in clinical and educational settings. Some more speculative applications to business and industry, international war, and problems of sustainable development are also considered.


contingency, behavioral momentum, rate of reinforcement, stimulus control

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802