Date of Award
Master of Science
The present study examined the effects of engagement in both low-preferred and high-preferred concurrent activities during self-control training, and determined the activities' differential effects on participants' tolerance to delayed reinforcement. Three children with autism were given a choice between a small immediate reinforcer and a large delayed reinforcer. During baseline, all three participants consistently selected the smaller reinforcer, and the immediate choice. Two training conditions, including a progressive delay to reinforcement with either a preferred or non-preferred concurrent activity, were first alternately and then simultaneously presented. Two of the three participants reversed response allocation from 100% for the sooner smaller reinforcer to over 90% for the larger later reinforcer, and maintained almost exclusive allocation for the preferred activity. All three participants increased delay tolerance by at least 250% of average natural baseline duration.
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