The effects of magnitude and quality of reinforcement on choice responding during play activities

Hannah Hoch, Jennifer J. McComas, Le Ann Johnson, Nicky Faranda, Shayna L. Guenther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three boys with autism participated in a study of the effects of magnitude and quality of reinforcement on choice responding. Two concurrent response alternatives were arranged: (a) to play in an area where a peer or sibling was located, or (b) to play in an area where there was no peer or sibling. During one condition, the magnitude (i.e., duration of access to toys) or quality (level of preference) of reinforcement provided for both responses was equal. During the other condition, the magnitude or quality of reinforcement was relatively greater for choosing the play area where the peer or sibling was located than the area where the peer or sibling was not located. Results showed that after repeated exposure to the unequal magnitude or quality condition, the participant increasingly allocated his responses to the play area where the peer or sibling was located. For 2 participants, this pattern of responding was maintained in the subsequent equal magnitude or quality condition. Overall, the analysis suggests that the dimensions of magnitude and quality of reinforcement can be arranged to influence choice responding in favor of playing near a peer or sibling rather than playing alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Choice responding
  • Concurrent schedules
  • Quality
  • Reinforcer magnitude
  • Response allocation

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