Semester of Graduation

August 2020


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Token systems have been implemented to change behavior across species and settings. Token systems involve token-production, exchange-production, and token-exchange schedules. In the current study, we evaluated the effects of fixed-ratio and yoked time exchange-production schedules on 4 preschoolers’ rate of responding on a marble spooning task, mean pause duration between responses, and percentage of session spent engaging in the target task. Following an initial reversal demonstrating a primary reinforcement effect, we used a multielement design to compare exchange-production schedule conditions and a control condition in which participants earned tokens that were not exchangeable. Following the exchange-production schedule comparison, we examined participants’ preferences for the control and exchange-production schedule arrangements. For all participants, tokens exchangeable for backup reinforcers functioned as generalized conditioned reinforcers; however, no consistent differences in rates of responding, percentage of session spent engaging in the task, or mean pause duration occurred between the fixed-ratio and yoked time exchange-production conditions. Clear but different preferences for one of the exchange-production schedules emerged for both participants whose preferences were assessed via repeated measurement. These findings support the use of token systems with tokens exchangeable for backup reinforcers with children and arranging the exchange-production schedule based on the practical benefit given the context and/or learner preference.

Committee Chair

Donaldson, Jeanne



Available for download on Saturday, May 20, 2023