Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua
Dr. Galen Alessi
Dr. Kristal Ehrhard
Masters Thesis-Open Access
Individuals with diagnosed autism typically show deficiencies in discrimination of facial cues. The ability to respond to facial expressions was assessed and trained with 3 four-year-old subjects diagnosed with autism. Stimulus presentations involved four different stimulus sets ( cards with stick figure, cards with cartoon figures, and cards with photographs of a man and a woman displaying the emotional expression).
Training consisted of differential reinforcement of correct responses. The experimental design was a multiple baseline across stimulus sets, with generalization probes conducted after mastery level of performance was reached on each stimulus set. Some evidence of generalization was observed on yet to be trained stimulus sets. A session using videotaped of actors displaying each of the target emotions, revealed levels of discrimination (90% for two of the subjects) for the participants that approximated that of normally developing children exposed to the same video. This study extends prior research in two ways: it demonstrates that preschool aged children can acquire complex discriminations involving facial cues, and it represents the first report of stimulus generalization of facial expressions across novel stimulus sets.
Bosch, Sebastien, "Conditional Discrimination and Generalization of Facial Cues as a Function of Training Multiple Exemplars with Autistic Preschoolers" (1999). Masters Theses. 4700.