Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras

Third Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to compare interval and full-session Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates (DRL) procedures to determine if one procedure is more effective at reducing high rate behaviors and maintaining those behaviors at a lower rate. This is an important question because previous research supports the use of both procedures in applied settings; however, full-session DRL is much easier to implement than interval DRL. If both procedures are found to be equally effective, then use of the procedure that is easier to implement would be recommended.

This study was conducted in an analog setting with four typically developing preschool children. An analog setting was chosen for this study so that the experimenter could have control over variables that are sometimes hard or impossible to control when research is conducted in the natural environment. An ABACA reversal design, with the presentation of conditions counterbalanced across participants, was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the two DRL procedures. The results, while preliminary, indicate that both procedures are equally effective at reducing high rates and maintaining low rates of behavior.

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