Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas Higbee

Abstract

Previous researchers have conducted preference assessment studies using different types of stimuli (e.g., edibles, tangibles, music) to identify reinforcers for individuals with disabilities. This study investigates the ability of paired-stimulus preference assessment techniques to assess the potential reinforcing effectiveness of iPad applications (apps) on the academic behavior of preschoolers with autism. This study yielded a preference hierarchy for each participant among the iPad apps. Participants’ responding increased upon implementation of the low-preferred app. When accessing the high-preferred app as reinforcement, participants generally engaged in a higher rate of responding. These results show that a paired-stimulus preference assessment can be used to rank preference of iPad apps, and therefore identify which apps are high-preferred and low-preferred. Findings also add to the research in showing that high-preferred stimuli are more effective because they increase rates of responding. This study provides many possibilities for conducting future research involving preference of technological stimuli.

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