Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark

Second Advisor

Hirst, Jason M.

Third Advisor

Jowett Hirst, Erica

Abstract

The present study evaluated preference for choice and its effect on motivation during response acquisition of receptive identification targets in children diagnosed with autism. Prior to the study a multiple stimulus without replacement preference assessment was conducted in order to determine the highly preferred stimulus. Choice was evaluated during a high-preferred, free-choice, and control condition for each participant. During the high-preferred condition, participants were only able to work for the high-preferred stimulus identified during the MSWO. During free choice, participants could choose among the five items presented in the MSWO, and during control each participant was unable to exchange his or her tokens for reinforcement. Choice was also evaluated during a concurrent-chain arrangement, where each participant was able to choose the condition he or she wanted to work under. The results showed that two out of the three participants did not show differentiation during the acquisition phase; however, during the concurrent-chain phase, all three participants demonstrated a stronger preference for free choice.

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