Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Committee Chair

Richard Marsicano

Second Committee Member

Meaghan Nolte

Third Committee Member

Candis Coble

Abstract

ABSTRACT

THE EFFECT OF A LAG SCHEDULE OF REINFORCEMENT ON VARIABILITY IN TOY PLAY IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

by

Cloie LaVonn Cornell

June 2019

Variability is a dimension of behavior that is altered and learned through reinforcement contingencies (Neuringer, 2002). The lag schedule of reinforcement is one way to establish contingencies in order to increase variability in block formations built by children diagnosed with autism. Napolitano, Smith, Zarcone, Goodkin and McAdam (2010), and Miller (1012) found that a lag schedule of reinforcement increased the variety of block formations built by children diagnosed with autism, both studies used the discriminative stimulus (SD) “build differently,” during intervention phases. The current study used a lag schedule of reinforcement along with the SD “build something,” throughout each phase. The results of this study showed that a lag schedule of reinforcement alone did not significantly increase variability in block formations built by all three participants. All three participants were age 8 and had an autism diagnosis.

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