Introductory Concepts
Elementary Relationships
Extensions of Verbal Behavior
Multiple Controlling Relationships
Building on the Elementary Relationships

6.6 Deprivation

Deprivation, as an establishing operation, is typically related to substances that are biologically required by an organism, such as food, water, air, heat, and possibly sexual contact. We can be “deprived” of many other things without a resultant increase in the reinforcing effectiveness of a related stimulus change. If we have not had a pencil for a long period of time, for example, we do not say that we have become pencil-deprived and then ask for a pencil. Well, we might, but that’s sort of weird.

A close up of a yellow pencil.
“I have been too long without a pencil…must acquire pencil soon or I will perish!”

Establishing Operation

An environmental change or event with the following features:

Precedes the response to which it is functionally related

Increases the effectiveness of a particular stimulus change as reinforcement

The type of environmental event

The cause of the environmental event

The type of stimulus that gains reinforcing effectiveness

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