Examining the generality of children's preference for contingent reinforcement via extension to different responses, reinforcers, and schedules

Kevin C. Luczynski, Gregory P. Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Studies that have assessed whether children prefer contingent reinforcement (CR) or noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) have shown that they prefer CR. Preference for CR has, however, been evaluated only under continuous reinforcement (CRF) schedules. The prevalence of intermittent reinforcement (INT) warrants an evaluation of whether preference for CR persists as the schedule of reinforcement is thinned. In the current study, we evaluated 2 children's preference for contingent versus noncontingent delivery of highly preferred edible items for academic task completion under CRF and INT schedules. Children (a) preferred CR to NCR under the CRF schedule, (b) continued to prefer CR as the schedule of reinforcement became intermittent, and (c) exhibited a shift in preference from CR to NCR as the schedule became increasingly thin. These findings extend the generality of and provide one set of limits to the preference for CR. Applied implications, variables controlling preferences, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-409
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Keywords

  • Concurrent-chains arrangement
  • Contingency strength
  • Contingent reinforcement
  • Intermittent reinforcement
  • Noncontingent reinforcement
  • Preference assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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