Remembering Dr. Nathan Azrin, Psychologist Who Developed the Token Economy


Perusing the New York Times this morning, I ran across an obituary for Dr. Nathan Azrin.  The name rang a bell but it wasn’t until I read the article that I realized that he had taken B.F. Skinner’s work and made theory into practice.  He created the “first token economy” and was able to change and shape behaviors for many different types of patients. 

 I wonder if Dr. Azrin had any idea of the hundreds and thousands of children he supported and helped through the years.  It’s boggles my mind to think of all of those token boards, penny boards and reward boards we’ll all created and used.

As we quoted in our most recent catalog, according to Matson & Boisjoli (2009): “One of the most important technologies of behavior modifiers and applied behavior analysts over the last 40 years has been the token economy.”

While we’re working with our kids today, let’s take a moment and thank Dr. Azrin for making a difference in the lives of those on the spectrum.  Here’s the whole article: