Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Previous research has shown that preference for concurrently available reinforcers can be influenced by the reinforcement schedule (DeLeon, Neidert, Anders, & Rodriguez-Catter, 2001; Tustin, 1994). However, limited research has been conducted on specific variables that may influence preference under various schedule requirements. The present study evaluated the influence of task preference, schedule, and quality of reinforcement on choice between either an arbitrary reinforcer or a functional reinforcer. Five participants diagnosed with Autism participated in the study. In the first phase, we evaluated the effects of task preference and schedule of reinforcement on choice between a 30-s break and a high preference food item. The results indicated that the food item was preferred over the break, regardless of the preference level of the task and schedule of reinforcement. In the second phase of the study, the parameters of the break were manipulated and toys and/or attention were added to the break. Only one participant showed preference for the enriched break during Phase 2. In the third phase of the study, we evaluated preference for a medium and/or low preference food item versus the enriched break. Three of the four participants in this phase showed preference for the break over the lower preference food item.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nathan Call



Included in

Psychology Commons