Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Second Advisor

Dr. Mal Robertson

Third Advisor

Dr. Neil Kent

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study compared the effectiveness of Outcome and Process reinforcement contingencies using concurrent training to teach severely mentally impaired students to perform component tasks. Each student was trained to assemble a four-piece apparatus using either the Outcome contingency or the Process contingency. The Outcome method was defined as a contingency where the final outcome of a component task has been achieved and a reinforcer is delivered contingent upon that outcome. The Process method was defined as a contingency where reinforcement occurs after the performance of each step in the sequence and when the final outcome of the task has been completed. Data were collected on the number of sessions required for skill mastery and the percent of mastered skill maintenance at one and three month follow-ups.

Study results indicated no significant differences in training methods for skill acquisition. However, the data indicated that students trained by the Process method retained the skills they had learned more than students trained by the Outcome method.