Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Department name when degree awarded

Disability Disciplines (Applied Behavior Analysis)


Motivating individuals with autism can be challenging for clinicians and educators seeking to increase skills or decrease problem behaviors. Even when highly preferred reinforcers have been identified, they tend to lose their effectiveness over time. Over the years, several strategies have been developed to maintain the effectiveness of reinforcers. Reinforcer variation has been demonstrated to attenuate decreases in responding associated with repeated exposure to a single reinforcer. Another strategy that has been used to help maintain responding is allowing an individual a choice among reinforcers. Several researchers have suggested that providing choice among several reinforcers may produce the same effects on responding as reinforcer variation. Although these two procedures have been shown to maintain motivation in individuals with autism, they have not been systematically compared and evaluated against each other. In this study, we evaluated the effects of reinforcer variation as compared to reinforcer choice.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 2, 2011.