Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

James Todd, Ph. D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Renee Lajiness-O’Neill, Ph.D

Committee Member

Ellen Koch, Ph.D


Noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), the response-independent delivery of reinforcers, has been demonstrated to be an effective response suppression method for a variety of problem behaviors displayed by children. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether preference for specific reinforcers to another context led to greater response suppression through an experimental comparison of NCR with a functional reinforcer versus preferred stimuli. Two preschool-aged children with autism and tantrums maintained by tangible reinforcement participated. Preference values were evaluated through paired-choice and competing stimulus assessments. Three preferred stimuli were selected for NCR-Preferred experimental conditions, based on varied levels of preference (i.e., highest, lowest, moderate). The preference was confirmed to be nonfunctional through arbitrary reinforcement tests. Results indicated that NCR-Functional and NCR-Preferred had suppressive effects across participants, but the predetermined level of preference did not have an effect.

Included in

Psychology Commons