Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Richard Malott

Second Advisor

Lindsey Donovan


Reinforcer, compliance, skill acquisition


The purpose of this intervention is to increase compliant behavior and skill acquisition in a child who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with the use of a reinforcer hierarchy. This hierarchy will be determined by conducting preference assessments. These assessments are established by allowing the child to choose the most preferred object of at least two objects which are presented to him by his tutor—a preference assessment can also be conducted by observing which objects or toys the child chooses to interact with the most in his environment. When the preference assessment is established, a reinforcer matrix will be constructed. This matrix will be used to show the child’s reinforcers in form of a hierarchy—the hierarchy of reinforcers will be ranked as follows: highly preferred, moderately preferred, less preferred, and least preferred. Procedures used in this intervention will be classified as acquired or mastered procedures—acquired procedures being those which he is still learning, and mastered procedures being those which the child has completed successfully. The child’s behavior will be classified as compliant or noncompliant. Highly preferred reinforcers will be delivered when the child is displaying compliant behavior during the procedures which he is still learning (acquired), and moderate or less preferred reinforcers will be delivered during his mastered procedures. Our assumption is that with the use of a reinforcer hierarchy, the child’s skill acquisition levels as well as his compliance levels will increase because the hierarchy will increase his motivation to learn.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons