A Preliminary Comparison of Functional Analysis Results When Conducted in Contrived Versus Natural Settings


This article describes a preliminary evaluation of the correspondence between functional analysis outcomes across settings with two children who had been diagnosed with autism and who engaged in challenging behavior. The authors demonstrate differences across settings (a therapy room and a classroom) in ABAB reversal designs. The authors describe three potential patterns of results when comparing functional analyses across environments and offer one possible explanation for discrepancies between environments (differing learning histories within separate environments).


Lang, R., O’Reilly, M. F., Lancioni, G., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M., & Chan, J. (2008). A preliminary comparison of functional analysis results when conducted in contrived versus natural settings. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41, 441–445.