Date of Award

5-2018

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.

Department

Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

College

School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Michele Traub

Second Advisor

Benjamin Witts

Third Advisor

Kimberly Schulze

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

token economy; preschoolers; progressive ratio schedule; schedule thinning

Abstract

Tokens are commonly used in educational settings to reinforce behavior without interrupting the response. There are two ways to increase the amount of work a person will do prior to receiving a reinforcer: either by increasing the work required to earn a token, or by increasing the number of tokens needed to redeem for a reinforcer. However, there is no literature supporting which of the two is more effective. The purpose of the current study is to extend the literature by thinning schedules of reinforcement within a token economy at two points, token earning and token exchange, and to compare the point at which the participants stop responding. The participants were asked to string various amounts of beads on a plastic lace in order to receive a token that can later be exchanged for a reward. The amount of time with the reward depended on how many tokens he or she received. While the preference for the thinning method was idiosyncratic, tokens increased the levels of responding. Overall, both methods are viable options to thin a schedule of reinforcement while maintaining high levels of responding in preschool aged participants.

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