Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation


Tyra Sellers


Timothy Slocum

Third Advisor:

Sarah Pinkelman


Understanding dimensions that influence reinforcement is important for applied behavior analysts. Preference, and reinforcer effectiveness, may change depending upon several dimensions of reinforcement. Two influential dimensions that may influence preference and reinforcer efficacy are response-reinforcer arrangements and stimulus type. Many leisure items used as reinforcers may be classified depending upon technology level (e.g., highly technological items versus non-technological items). In recent years use of highly technological items has increased among individuals with disabilities. When using high- and low-tech reinforcers, reinforcer deliveries may be arranged to occur in a distributed manner (i.e., every response results in a reinforcer delivery), or an accumulated manner (i.e., reinforcers are accumulated and exchanged following completion of all the work). The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction and effects of reinforcer arrangements (i.e., distributed reinforcement and accumulated reinforcement) and technology level of items (i.e., high-tech and low-tech) on preference and reinforcer efficacy with three children with autism. Results demonstrated higher response rates and preference toward accumulated reinforcer arrangements compared to distributed reinforcer arrangements regardless of technology level. Overall, participants’ responding and preference were sensitive to different reinforcer arrangements but were less sensitive to differences in the technology level of the reinforcers used.