Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation


Sarah E Bloom


The purpose of this study was to determine whether altering parameters of positive and negative reinforcement in identical ways could influence behavior maintained by each in different ways. Three undergraduate students participated in a series of assessments designed to identify preferred and aversive sounds with similar reinforcing values. Following reinforcer identification, we conducted parameter sensitivity assessments for both positive and negative reinforcers. Parameter manipulations influenced behavior in the same way across reinforcement processes for two participants. However, for one participant, the way in which parameter manipulations influenced behavior differed according to the reinforcement process. Our results suggest that, for at least some individuals, positive and negative sound reinforcement processes do not influence behavior in identical ways. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.