Extinction

Extinction is when the consequence that have maintained the behavior will no longer be presented after or during the challenging behavior.  For example, Leo’s mother is in the kitchen near the cookie jar. Leo wants some cookies so he walks to his mother and hits her shoulder a couple of times.  His mother keeps offering Leo whatever she thinks he wants, but he keeps hitting her. The hitting stops after she handed him a cookie. In this example, hitting is reinforced with the presentation of the cookie.  In an extinction procedure, his mother should not give him a cookie when he is hitting her. Over time, Leo will learn that hitting his mother alone will not get him a cookie so the hitting, slowly but surely, stops (See Differential Reinforcement on how to effectively address this example instead of just using extinction).