Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. James E. Carr


Preference assessments for individuals with disabilities differ along many dimensions, including time requirements for implementation and probability of identifying a hierarchy of relative preferences. Some methods of assessment are also more conducive to use with individuals who exhibit problem behavior or certain prerequisite skills. Inaccurate results and loss of valuable treatment time are among the risks associated with selecting ineffective or unnecessarily lengthy procedures. The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate a progressive model for conducting preference assessments which incorporates many of the aforementioned considerations. Concurrent-operant reinforcer evaluations were used to verify assessment findings. Based on 17 participants completed to date, the majority (i.e., 76% of all participants) progressed to reinforcer evaluation following the initial multiple-stimulus without replacement (MSWO) assessment. The free-operant method was the second most commonly implemented approach (i.e., 18% of all participants). Subsequent reinforcer evaluations confirmed assessment findings in all but two cases. Results from the investigation are discussed in terms of the utility of this particular model and possibilities for the application of alternative algorithms to behavior analytic technologies.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access