A comparison of consequences for correct responses during discrete-trial instruction

Brad T. Joachim, Regina A. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We used an adapted-alternating treatments design to compare the effects of four types of consequences for correct responses on skill acquisition during discrete-trial instruction for four children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Contingent on correct responses, the therapist provided either praise, tangible items, tokens, or no differential consequence. Three of four participants acquired target skills in the fewest number of sessions when correct responses resulted in immediate access to tangible items or tokens exchangeable for tangible items at the end of the session. One participant did not acquire target skills in any condition. We assessed participants’ preferences for different consequences using a concurrent-chains assessment. Three of the four participants demonstrated a preference for conditions associated with immediate or delayed tangible items, and one participant demonstrated a preference for descriptive praise. Findings in the current study generally suggest that immediate or delayed tangible items should be used as consequences for correct responses during discrete-trial instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
JournalLearning and Motivation
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Concurrent-chains arrangement
  • Discrete-trial instruction
  • Token economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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