Social Contol - Token economy

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  • Social Contol - Token economy
    • How does it work
      • Based on operant conditioning principles
      • Tokens are secondary reinforcers - can be exchanged for a primary reinforcer - something the individual wants
    • Where is it used
      • Prisons (criminological), Institutions (clinical), Schools (learning)
    • Why is it used
      • used to shape undesirable behaviour into desirable
    • Ethical Issues
      • individuals may be deprived of non-essential comforts so they are motivated to work for tokens
      • modifying an undesirable behaviour may be unethical as someone has to decide what behaviour is desired - coercive power - individuals rights are infringed
      • In prisons right to withdraw and consent are infringed as the individual will have little free will to participate
    • Practical Issues
      • Suitable for use with most people - require no particular ability - reward system is clear - all involved know how to claim credit
      • can be administered by anyone -tokens and rewards are cheap - TEP is relatively inexpensive
      • Based on the fact staff stick to the reward system however they may miss behaviour or deviate from the training
      • Effective in short term - no long term effectiveness has been shown - e.g. in prisons where TEP is used recidivism is still high suggesting generalisation does not occur outside the prison
    • Influence of practitioner
      • in prison staff have legitimate power in that they are expected to shape appropriate behviour so have coercive power


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