Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Galen J. Alessi

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Montjoy

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Communication training for the developmentally disabled is becoming a vital component among residential training facilities. Such education necessarily entails the transfer of stimulus control from a prompt stimulus to a stimulus inherent in the task. The current study investigated the effects which different values of a reinforcer may have on the transfer of stimulus control. Three severely, mentally retarded adults were taught manual sign language, while two values of the reinforcer were varied according to two classes of response: preprompt and postprompt responding. A within subjects design was incorporated with a delayed prompting procedure in identifying the precise moment of transfer of stimulus control. Subsequent analyses of Conditions B and C revealed a significant shift in the moment of transfer. The signs acquired under each condition generalized across settings and trainers, and were maintained over time.