Token Economy

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 16-01-11 18:44

Token Economy

  • a behaviour modification therapy in order to prevent recidivism
  • The aim is to replace maladaptive behaviour with appropraite behaviour
  • Token economy uses operant conditioning to prevent criminals re-offending
  • When the offender does a desirable behaviour, they will get tokens as a reward (positive reinforcement)
  • these tokens can then be exchanged for something the offender wants such as cigarettes, extra visits, etc.
  • The tokens are therefore secondary reinforcers- they can use them to buy primary reinforcers e.g. tokens for food

Prisons also use:

  •  Negative Reinforcement- they will remove privileges from a prisoner if they do an undesirable behaviour. The privilege is immediately given back when the right behaviour is displayed.
  • Punishment- a prisoner is put in isolation


+ Milby (1975)- found TEPS successful in psychiatic hospitals in controlling behaviour. Programme also seemed to work outside of the hospital too.

+ Ayllon and Milan (1979) found that TEPS worked for clear behaviour such as the control over interpersonal aggression

+ anyone can administer TEP and tokens and rewards are reasonably cheap so there are more benefits than costs

+ meta analysis has shown that TEPS are successful


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