Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The differential outcomes effect (DOE) refers to the finding that performance in discrimination training improves when different behaviors produce different reinforcers. In the current study, the effects of two DOE procedures on the acquisition of receptive language skills were compared. Participants were four children with autism and/or developmental delay/speech and language impairment. The children were presented with two toy or food items and asked to give the experimenter the item named. The names consisted of three-letter nonsense syllables. Correct responses were followed by one of the following consequences: (a) The opportunity to manipulate or consume the item to which the child correctly responded; (b) the opportunity to manipulate or consume a third item that was unique to that label but was not one of the two test items in the pair; or (c) randomized access to one of two various third items (non-differential outcomes condition). Results showed similar patterns of response acquisition in all three of the conditions (DOE-Matched, DOE-Unmatched, and No DOE). This is consistent with several previous applied investigations on the DOE. Suggestions are provided for future research on alternative techniques for teaching discriminations to children with developmental disabilities.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nathan Call

Included in

Psychology Commons