Token economy

Token economy

A token economy is a system of behavior modification based on the principles of operant conditioning. Contingency management systems are often employed by those who practice applied behavior analysis. It is one approach to a contingency management program. Specifically, the original proposal for such a system emphasized reinforcing positive behavior by awarding "tokens" for meeting positive behavioral goals. The first therapeutic use of a token system was by Avendano y Carderera in 1859, who described a "ticket" for rewarding good behavior in children. [cite journal |journal=Res Dev Disabil |date=2008 |title=The token economy for children with intellectual disability and/or autism: a review |author=Matson JL, Boisjoli JA |doi=10.1016/j.ridd.2008.04.001 |pmid=18486442] The system as popularized in a year-long study conducted by Teodoro Ayllon in Florida was primarily geared towards changing adolescent behavior. Ayllon's study included only adolescent males.

Ayllon's tokens themselves were not reinforcers; tokens were accumulated and "spent" in order to obtain a reinforcer. "Patients earn tokens, which they can exchange for privileges, such as time watching television or walks on the hospital grounds, by completing assigned duties (such as making their beds) or even just by engaging in appropriate conversations with others" (Nolen-Hoeksema's Abnormal Psychology, p.409). Early during the program, a participant would be required to spend all of his or her tokens daily to emphasize the reinforcement activity early, and as time passed and success was made, participants would be allowed (or required) to accumulate their tokens over the course of longer time periods. This, as a variable-rate scheduling system, helped prevent extinction of the behavior after the program's termination.


The following must be defined:
# Desired behavior(Transparency)
# A large number of rewards
# What is a token
# How are tokens allocated
# How are the token earnings changing while approaching the goals
# How many tokens will be earned achieving the desired behavior
# How many tokens are necessary to get rewards (or maybe to do be allowed to do something). Earning and exchange of tokens have to be in a well-balanced proportion.

If the desired behavior is achieved, the token program must be faded out.

Advantages of token economy

*tokens are flexible
*tokens can be used for several needs and therefore saturation is improbable
*there is no delay giving tokens after the desired behavior has been shown
*it does not matter who gives the tokens (an automat is also possible)
*mostly the token economy is well-regulated thus it is easy for therapists to decide whether they have to give a token or not

Requirements of token economy

*it is very important to observe the rules (nobody must give them awards otherwise the token economy will be corrupted)
*10% - 20% of clients do not respond to token economies

ee also

*Experimental analysis of behavior
*Professional practice of behavior analysis


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Token economy — Token System (vom englischen Token Economy, übersetzt etwa Münz Eintausch/Verstärkungssystem) ist ein Begriff aus der Verhaltenstherapie. Synonym wird gelegentlich der Begriff Belohnungsplan verwendet. Token sind sekundäre Verstärker. Für das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • token economy — noun a form of behavior therapy that has been used in some mental institutions; patients are rewarded with tokens for appropriate behavior and the tokens may be cashed in for valued rewards • Hypernyms: ↑behavior therapy, ↑behavior modification * …   Useful english dictionary

  • token economy — Psychiatry. a method of encouraging desirable behavior, esp. in a hospital setting, by offering rewards of token money that can be exchanged for special food, access to television, and other bonuses. [1965 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • token economy — to·ken economy tō kən n a system of operant conditioning used for behavior modification that involves rewarding desirable behaviors with tokens which can be exchanged for items or privileges (as food or free time) and punishing undesirable… …   Medical dictionary

  • token economy — noun A system of behavior modification based on the principles of operant conditioning; patients are rewarded with tokens (reinforcers) for engaging in desirable activities …   Wiktionary

  • token economy — /ˈtoʊkən əˌkɒnəmi/ (say tohkuhn uh.konuhmee) noun a system in behaviour therapy in which pleasing behaviour is rewarded with tokens which can be exchanged for goods, privileges, etc …   Australian English dictionary

  • психотерапия накоплением жетонов (token-economy) — Этимология. Происходит от греч. psyche душа + theraрeia лечение. Категория. Форма поведенческой психотерапии. Специфика. Основана на оперантном научении. Заключается в том, что приемлемое поведение подкрепляется положительно, а неприемлемое… …   Большая психологическая энциклопедия

  • Token-System — (vom englischen Token Economy, übersetzt etwa Münz Eintausch oder Münzverstärkungs System) ist ein Verfahren der Verhaltenstherapie, das auf Prinzipien der operanten Konditionierung beruht[1]. Ziel eines Token Systems ist der Aufbau erwünschten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Token-Ökonomie —   [ təʊkən ], Psychologie: Methode der Verhaltensmodifikation, bei der zum Aufbau des erwünschten Verhaltens nach einem zuvor festgelegten Regelsystem Verstärker in Form von Münzen, Marken oder Punkten (»tokens«) benutzt werden, die von den… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • economy — Synonyms and related words: GNP, barter economy, brevity, briefness, budget, capitalistic economy, carefulness, cheap, cheeseparing, collectivized economy, compactness, conciseness, concision, conservation, conservatism, consumer economy, control …   Moby Thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.