Rusch, F., Close, D., Hops, H., & Agosta, J. (1976). Overcorrection: Generalization and maintenance. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 9, 498.

The present study examined the effects of one component of overcorrection - verbal reprimands - and compared them with the effects of the entire overcorrection procedure. Generalization and maintenance of effects were also evaluated. A combined reversal and multiple-baseline experimental design was used to evaluate the effect of the various contingencies on the inappropriate searching behavior of a severely and profoundly mentally retarded adult living in a group home. Searching was defined as carefully and thoroughly touching floors, sofas, cabinets, etc. Data were collected by group-home personnel during three separate observation periods each day of the 115-day study: before breakfast, after breakfast, and after dinner. Observers also served as experimenters. Following an initial baseline phase, verbal reprimands followed searching behavior during two daily experimental periods in multiple-baseline fashion. An immediate reduction of searching during experimental periods occurred with the onset of verbal reprimands. No reduction was observed in the third daily observation period, the control session. After a second baseline phase, during which searching behavior was not shown to return to the original baseline levels, overcorrection procedures (washing hands) were instituted. Overcorrection virtually eliminated inappropriate searching during both daily experimental periods. Further, the effects generalized to the daily control session. In a final experimental phase, decreased searching behavior was maintained with verbal reprimands alone.