Comparing a discriminative stimulus procedure to a pairing procedure: Conditioning neutral social stimuli to function as conditioned reinforcers.

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Social stimuli that function as reinforcers for most children generally do not function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. These important social stimuli include smiles, head nods, thumb-ups, and okay signs. It should be an important goal of therapy for children with autism to condition these neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. There is empirical evidence to support both a pairing procedure (classical conditioning) and a discriminative stimulus procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. However, there is no clear evidence as to the superiority of effectiveness for either procedure. Despite ... continued below

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Koelker, Rachel Lee December 2009.

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  • Koelker, Rachel Lee

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Social stimuli that function as reinforcers for most children generally do not function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. These important social stimuli include smiles, head nods, thumb-ups, and okay signs. It should be an important goal of therapy for children with autism to condition these neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. There is empirical evidence to support both a pairing procedure (classical conditioning) and a discriminative stimulus procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. However, there is no clear evidence as to the superiority of effectiveness for either procedure. Despite this most textbooks and curriculum guides for children with autism state only the pairing procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. Recent studies suggest that the discriminative stimulus procedure may in fact be more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. The present research is a further comparison of these two procedures. Results from one participant support recent findings that suggest the discriminative stimulus procedure is more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. But the results from the other participant show no effects from either procedure, suggesting future research into conditions necessary to condition neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children with autism.

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  • December 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 17, 2010, 11:40 a.m.

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  • April 5, 2010, 4:46 p.m.

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Koelker, Rachel Lee. Comparing a discriminative stimulus procedure to a pairing procedure: Conditioning neutral social stimuli to function as conditioned reinforcers., thesis, December 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12143/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .