Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Jowett Hirst, Erica


Few researchers have compared preference for reinforcement and response cost within a token economy, and the results have shown that preference varies among individuals (e.g., Donaldson et al., 2014; Iwata & Bailey, 1974; Jowett Hirst et al., 2016). Preference for response cost is an interesting phenomenon because response cost is a punishment procedure and is often considered aversive. Therefore, identifying the variables that influence preference for response cost is an important area of research. Some authors have suggested that the immediate delivery or presence of tokens might influence preference for response cost, but these variables have yet to be experimentally evaluated. The current study evaluated whether the presence of tokens influences selection of response cost over reinforcement in three typically developing preschool children by systematically varying the presence of tokens across both the reinforcement and response cost procedures. Results suggest that the presence of tokens influenced selection for one out of three participants. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of clinical application and directions for future research.




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