Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Behavior Analysis

Committee Chair

Sadie Lovett

Second Committee Member

Richard Marsicano

Third Committee Member

Marte Fallshore


Variability in behaviors is a necessary part of living and thriving. Variability allows a person to adapt to new settings, problem solve, and survive. Individuals with an autism spectrum diagnosis lack response variability in their behavioral repertoire, which leads to a lack of problem solving and adaptive skills. Rigid toy play is a common symptom of autism spectrum disorder and shows a larger lack of overall response variability. A lag schedule of reinforcement requires the organism to vary their current response from previous responses in order to receive reinforcement. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effect of a Lag 5 schedule of reinforcement on variability in toy play responses with stimuli that had a wide range of appropriate toy play responses. A changing criterion design was used to evaluate the effects of a Lag 5 schedule of reinforcement on toy play response variability. Varied toy play responding did increase under lag schedules with the inclusion of training trials. Responding generalized across novel toy sets.