Motivating Operation

Sometimes abbreviated as MO, this term refers to a change in the environment that affects the value of other stimuli to serve as reinforcers and antecedent stimuli. In other words, something in the environment temporarily alters the value of something else, and therefore will result in the individual engaging in behaviors to get what is valuable at that particular time. For example, not drinking water for a long period of time (being thirsty) is a motivating operation because it temporarily increases the value of water and therefore will make the person engage in behaviors to get water such as opening the refrigerator, asking for water, walking to a water fountain, etc.