Date of Award:

4-1-2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Andrew L. Samaha

Abstract

Two dimensions of reinforcement that influence behavior are reinforcer magnitude and stimulus type. One type of stimulus involving high technology (i.e., hightech stimuli) has not been examined to determine reinforcement properties. This project examined the interactions of reinforcer magnitude and high-tech stimuli and the effects of those interactions on preference and reinforcer efficacy. Participants included three adult individuals with disabilities. Two multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessments were conducted to determine a highly preferred high-tech stimulus and a highly preferred no-tech stimulus for each participant. A paired stimulus preference assessment was conducted to identify preferred reinforcer magnitudes using both highly preferred stimuli (high- and no-tech). A progressive ratio (PR) reinforcer assessment was then conducted to assess the effects of stimulus type and reinforcer magnitude on reinforcer efficacy. Results demonstrated a preference for high-tech stimuli at longer durations of access for two participants. Results also demonstrated participants responded more for high-tech stimuli as reinforcer magnitudes were increased, and responded less for no-tech stimuli as reinforcer magnitudes were increased (measured as total number of responses during the PR assessments). These results provide further evidence of the effects of reinforcer magnitude and stimulus type (high-tech stimuli) on preference and reinforcer efficacy and have implications for clinicians and caregivers using high- and no-tech items as reinforcers.

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