Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Behavior Analysis

Committee Chair

Sadie Lovett

Second Committee Member

Stephanie Stein

Third Committee Member

Heath Marrs


A 16-item paired stimulus (PS) preference assessments was utilized to identify preference categories. A single item from both the highly-preferred (HP) and less preferred (LP) categories as well as two categorically similar but untested items were then utilized during a reinforcer assessment. An alternating treatments design with an initial baseline and final best treatment phase was implemented to assess the comparative effectiveness of the tested versus untested stimuli to act as reinforcers. The reinforcer assessment involved implementation of discrete trial teaching methods to instruct four separate but similar tasks. Each task was paired with an edible item. During treatment, correct responding resulted in contingent access to a small piece of the edible item that had been paired with the task. Five school-age children from a local public-school district served as participants. Results of the preference assessment indicated clear preferences categories for most participants. Results of the reinforcer assessment show that for three of the five participants, mastery criteria were met first with items from the HP category. Following a transition into the best-treatment only phase, each task met mastery criteria. The research supports the use of the PS preference assessment in identifying both categories and single items that can later be used as reinforcers in applied settings.