Comparison of High and Low Preferred Topographies of Contingent Attention During Discrete Trial Training


The authors used the paired-stimulus and multiple-stimulus without replacement preference assessment procedures to identify high and low preferred topographies of attention for two children with autism spectrum disorders. Both preference assessment formats identified the same high and low preferred forms of attention. A reinforcer assessment implemented during discrete trial training demonstrated increased correct responding and reduced challenging behavior when the high preferred form of attention was the contingent reinforcer for both participants. These results replicate previous research demonstrating that children with autism spectrum disorders may have preferences for specific forms of social interaction and that highly preferred forms of attention may function as more potent reinforcers than less preferred forms. This study extends previous research by demonstrating correspondence between the multiple-stimulus without replacement and paired-stimulus formats when applied to attention. Implications for practitioners and directions for future research are discussed.


Lang, R., van der Werff, M., Verbeek, K., Didden, R., Davenport, K., Moore, M., . . . Lancioni, G. E. (2014). Comparison of high and low preferred topographies of contingent attention during discrete-trial training. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(10), 1279–1286. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.06.012