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A comparison of presession and within-session reinforcement choice.

  • R B Graff
  • M E Libby
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1999


Single- and concurrent-operants procedures were used to evaluate the effects of two reinforcement conditions on the free-operant responding of 3 individuals with developmental disabilities and 1 with attention deficit disorder. In the presession choice condition, prior to each session the participant chose one item from an array of three different highly preferred stimuli. This item was delivered by the experimenter on each reinforcer delivery during that session. In the within-session choice condition, each reinforcer delivery consisted of placing an array of three different highly preferred stimuli in front of the participant, who was allowed to select one. Only one of the two reinforcement conditions was in effect for any particular session in single-operant phases. Buttons associated with each reinforcement condition were present, and the participant could allocate responses to one or the other in concurrent-operants phases. Data showed substantially more responding to the button associated with within-session choice than presession choice during concurrent-operants phases. This effect was not as apparent during single-operant phases, suggesting that a concurrent-operants procedure provided the more sensitive evaluation of within-session and presession reinforcer choice effects.

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