Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. Jessica Frieder

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

In recent years, researchers have evaluated individuals' preferences for different mand modalities and its effects on the acquisition of novel mands during functional con1munication training (i.e., FCT; e.g., Falcomata, Ringdahl, Christensen, & Boelter, 20 I 0). In many of these studies, the modality of responding that Michael ( 1985) classified as selection-based responding, is preferred by participants (e.g., Falcomata et al., 201 0). Wraikat, Sundberg, and Michael (1991) suggest that topography-based responses may be preferable for the acquisition of complex language. However, selection-based verbal responses may have faster acquisition in learning initial verbal operants (Charlop-Christy, Carpenter, Le, LeBlanc & Kellet, 2002). If individuals prefer selection-based modalities of communication, it may be desirable to identify whether their preferences can be influenced in favor of topography-based modalities instead. Peck et al. (1996) demonstrated that by providing a longer duration and higher quality of reinforcement for various mands and problem behavior, response allocation could be shifted towards whichever response resulted in longer duration and high quality of reinforcement. The current study assessed the effects of varying duration of reinforcement on problem behaviors and response allocation between topography-based and selection-based mands during FCT.

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