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He was born in Boston Massachusetts.
In the early 19th century, long before there was any knowledge about operant learning, there were some precursors of token economies in schools and prisons. In those systems points could be earned and exchanged for many different items and privileges. Only in the 1960s the first real token economies arose in psychiatric hospitals. Teodoro Ayllon, Nathan Azrin and Leonard Krasner were important pioneers in these early years. The very first token economy bearing that name was founded by Ayllon and Azrin in 1961 at Anna State Hospital in Illinois. In the 1970s the token economies came to a peak and became widespread. In 1977 a major study (a randomized controlled trial), still considered a landmark, was published. This study showed the superiority of a token economy compared to standard treatment and specialized milieu therapy. Despite this success token economies declined from the 1980s on. It became fairly quiet on that front due to a variety of problems and criticism.
- (1) human behavior is maintained by reinforcement on the person who performed the behavior
- (2) people have a tendency to treat others as they are treated and
- (3) mutual reinforcement accounts at least partially for concepts like friendships, joy, and love.
And he explored the implementation of these principles in couples therapy
His book "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" has been used by many mothers.
Working with families with alcohol abuse
Community reinforcement and family training is a model first developed by Nathan H. Azrin and Hunt. The model focuses on the use of functional behavioral assessment to reduce drinking behavior.
He has served as President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
In 1975 he received the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. In 1992 he received the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award
- ↑ R.P. Liberman: The token economy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2000, 157, 1398.
- ↑ T. Ayllon & N.H. Azrin : The Token Economy: a motivational system for therapy and rehabilitation. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1968. ISBN 0-390-04310-9
- ↑ G.L. Paul & R.J. Lentz : Psychosocial treatment of chronic mental patients: milieu versus social-learning programs. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-674-72112-8
- ↑ Azrin, NH, Naster, BJ, and Jone, R. (1973). Reciprocity counseling: A rapid learning-based procedure for martial counseling. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 11, 365-382.
- ↑ Azrin, Nathan (1976). Toilet Training in Less Than a Day, New York: Pocket Books.