Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Kimberly Crosland


An important variable not often examined in the literature is the relationship between target behaviors and their reinforcers. Previous research has demonstrated faster acquisition rates of simple receptive and imitative skills when the reinforcer used was part of the behavior chain that it reinforced. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a direct reinforcement contingency to teach pairs of advanced receptive skills with three children with autism. During the indirect reinforcement condition, the therapist reinforced correct responding by handing the child an edible reinforcer. During the direct reinforcement condition, the reinforcer was located under the container displaying the correct response. Results showed that no participant reached mastery criterion regardless of the reinforcement contingency, although slightly higher levels of correct responding were observed during the direct reinforcement phase for all three participants on one skill.