Guest Blog Post by Dr. Katherine May, Ed.D.,BCBA

Restitutional Overcorrection: A Positive Punishment Procedure

As avid learners of ABA, we are quick to find out that there are a lot of terms to remember, but on top of that it’s important to be able to associate terms with a bigger category. Well, here’s one of them….restitutional overcorrection falls under the category of positive punishment. This is because the punishing agent is adding something in order to decrease the future frequency of problem behavior. 

In restitutional overcorrection contingent on the problem behavior, the learner is required to repair the damage caused by the problem behavior. Therefore, the client needs to restore the environment back to its original state first, then the client is required to engage in additional behavior to improve the environment to a state better than it was before the problem behavior occurred.I always remember restitutional overcorrection as a person not being able to “rest” because they are required to do MORE than just restore the environment.

An example of restitutional overcorrection is when a kiddo comes home and runs right up the stairs and tracks mud all through the house, his parents now have him clean up the mud, THEN wax all the floors and polish the windows. In this scenario the mud was the only thing the kiddo was responsible for was tracking mud, but he was required to bring the environment not only back to its original state, but now to an even better state than it was before.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.