Five Signs of Satiation

Satiation, or the state of being fully satisfied with something to the point that your desire for it is gone or greatly diminished, can be an issue with ABA style instruction. It can also be challenging because instructors may not identify the learner's resulting behavior as being due to satiation. This situation is frustrating, especially when working with a nonverbal student or one displaying challenges with expressive language. Being aware of these five variables which may indicate satiation, could help teachers identify it and introduce novel and more reinforcing items/activities.

1) An increase in a student's challenging behavior

While this is not necessarily due to satiation issues, students can often become frustrated when reinforcement levels drop or are eliminated. Even though there is a reinforcer present, it is not desired by the student and will not be helpful in producing appropriate behavior.

2) A student's acute interest in other items/activities

Here again, it can be easy for teachers to dismiss a student's interest in something else during instruction as being "noncompliant." In actuality, he may be telling you that the video game he was earning is now not preferred and he is interested in earning that football. A simple contingency statement, such as, "When you earn all of your tokens you can get the football" could redirect his attention.

3) A lack of choice in the student's DRO or Token Board re enforcers

The easiest and most effective way to decrease the chance of satiation occurring in the first place is to provide a good range of novel possible reinforcers. This can be done by including various pictures or names of items/activities on the student's Token Board (commonly called a DRO or Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors). An imaginative variety of choices will benefit the student the most and they may surprise you with their choices!

4) Noncompliance or an excessive delay in responding

Not answering or not complying with a request could indicate a lack of interest due to the lack of a viable reinforcer.

5) Overall time spent earning a specific reinforcer

Lastly, the total time that the student has spent earning a particular reinforcer will generally indicate when to rotate it out for something new. Ideally, this should be done prior to complete satiation and therefore the student may still be motivated by the item/activity. This is fine because you can always reinsert this back into the choice list to allow the student to choose it in the future.

It should also be pointed out that using an effective reinforcer is also reinforcing for the teacher as well. If having your student earn a certain movie has greatly motivated him in the past, it is very tempting to continue to use this item to produce the same results. A robust and often changing choice list is the best way to avoid satiation issues.




Click here to find a Teacher near you

82 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
Logo Transparent 1.png
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr Social Icon
  • Instagram

Order The Young Method

Purchase eBook 1 kit of our breakthrough piano instruction series and start using it today. 

In-School Lessons

Have an IPI Teacher come to your school and deliver individual or group style piano lessons. 

Online Certification

Get certified in The Young Method series to become an even more awesome Teacher!  

School Training Program

Have an IPI Teacher come to your school and provide training services for select members of your staff

In-Home Lessons

Have an IPI Teacher come to your home and deliver  individualized piano lessons.

Studio Based Lessons

Travel to an IPI Teacher's studio to receive a piano lesson. Choose your Teacher and book your lesson today.



Online Video Lesson

Connect with your Teacher through Zoom by eceiving an online piano lesson.