The Effects of Differential Reinforcement of Unprompted Responding on Skill Acquisition of Children with Autism
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Jim Carr
Dr. Linda LeBlanc
Dr. Richard Mallot
Masters Thesis-Open Access
The common recommendation to reserve the most potent reinforcers for unprompted responses during acquisition programming, sometimes referred to as differential reinforcement of independent responding, has little published empirical support for its purported benefits (enhanced rate of acquisition, decreased likelihood of errors and prompt dependence). The purpose of the current investigation was to compare the delivery of high-quality reinforcers exclusively following unprompted responses (differential condition) with the delivery of high-quality reinforcers following both prompted and unprompted responses (non-differential condition) on the rate of skill acquisition for two children with autism. Participants were taught multiple· pairs of target skills (picture sequencing, tacting) using a discrete-trial preparation in conjunction with both differential and non-differential teaching procedures. Alternating treatments and reversal designs were used to evaluate the effects of both conditions on the rate of acquisition for each participant. Results demonstrate that the differential reinforcement procedure reliably produced skill acquisition whereas the non-differential reinforcement procedure did not.
Karsten, Amanda M., "The Effects of Differential Reinforcement of Unprompted Responding on Skill Acquisition of Children with Autism" (2007). Masters Theses. 4599.