Psych M.D - Token Economy


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Term: Token economy
Definition (Myers): An operant conditioning procedure that rewards desired behavior - a patient exchanges a token of some sort, earned for exhibiting the desired behavior, for various privileges or treats
Definition (alternative): A token economy is a form of behavior modification designed to increase desirable behavior and decrease undesirable behavior with the use of tokens. Individuals receive tokens immediately after displaying desirable behavior. The tokens are collected and later exchanged for a meaningful object or privilege.*
Contextual explanation: Often token economies are used in institutional settings (such as psychiatric hospitals or correctional facilities) to manage the behavior of individuals who may be aggressive or unpredictable. But the larger goal of token economies is to teach appropriate behavior and social skills that can be used in one's natural environment. Special education (for children with developmental or learning disabilities, hyperactivity, attention deficit, or behavioral disorders), regular education, colleges, various types of group homes, military divisions, nursing homes, addiction treatment programs, occupational settings, family homes (for marital or parenting difficulties), and hospitals use token economies frequently. Token economies can be used individually or in groups.
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
Related terms and concepts:
Psych M.D - Token Economy - The Neuron Psych M.D - Token Economy - The Neuron
Related websites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Token_economy
http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Token-economy-system.html
http://www.uams.edu/add/token.htm
Edited by: Julie



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