Behavioral variability and autism spectrum disorder

Nicole M. Rodriguez, Rachel H. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Restricted and repetitive behavior is a diagnostic characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To the extent that the behavior of individuals with ASD can be conceptualized as problems of invariance, our understanding of environmental variables that influence restricted and repetitive behavior may be informed by the basic and applied literature on response variability. The purposes of this paper are (a) to describe how restricted and repetitive behavior can be conceptualized as problems of invariance, (b) to consider the implications of a lack of varied responding for individuals with ASD, (c) to review relevant basic and applied research on response variability, (d) to present methods to address invariant responding for individuals with ASD, and (e) to suggest areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • autism
  • behavioral variability
  • invariance
  • response variability
  • restricted and repetitive behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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