Do children prefer contingencies? An evaluation of the efficacy of and preference for contingent versus noncontingent social reinforcement during play

Kevin C. Luczynski, Gregory P. Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Discovering whether children prefer reinforcement via a contingency or independent of their behavior is important considering the ubiquity of these programmed schedules of reinforcement. The current study evaluated the efficacy of and preference for social interaction within differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) schedules with typically developing children. Results showed that 7 of the 8 children preferred the DRA schedule; 1 child was indifferent. We also demonstrated a high degree of procedural fidelity, which suggested that preference is influenced by the presence of a contingency under which reinforcement can be obtained. These findings are discussed in terms of (a) the selection of reinforcement schedules in practice, (b) variables that influence children's preferences for contexts, and (c) the selection of experimental control procedures when evaluating the effects of reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-525
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Concurrent-chains arrangement
  • Contingency strength
  • Differential reinforcement
  • Noncontingent teinforcement
  • Preference assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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