Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement: A Panel with Discussion

John Falligant (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)

Invited Panel




Dr. Falligant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Senior Behavior Analyst in the inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Neurobehavioral Programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who suffer from severe behavioral dysfunction, including self-injury. Dr. Falligant’s clinical work and research is focused on the assessment and treatment of behavioral dysfunction in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. He is also interested in translational behavioral research involving models of choice behavior and impulsivity, reward sensitivity, behavioral persistence, and the identification and quantification of predictive behavioral markers. Dr. Falligant is a clinical psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). He received his Ph.D. from Auburn University. He completed his Doctoral Internship and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.



This session, a follow-up to Peter Killeen’s tutorial on Mathematical Principles of Reinforcement, will offer examples of MPR’s application and thoughts about potential uses. Why consider applying MPR? It is a comprehensive theory of behavior that is derived from three elementary, common-sensical principles. The data required for model fitting, which come from a series of fixed-ratios or a progressive ratio schedule, are acquired quickly. The ability of its parameters to distinguish reinforcer efficacy, how reinforcers select recent behavior, and motor characteristics of behavior can yield insight into behavioral determinants. Chris Newland will describe its application in characterizing the actions of drugs and contaminants that act on the nervous system, John Michael Falligant will explore its potential applications to applied behavior analysis, and Brent Kaplan will describe how it might address issues in substance abuse.


Modifed by Eddie Soh