Effect of choice of task sequence on responding

  • Smeltzer S
  • Graff R
  • Ahearn W
 et al. 
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Choice between alternative response options has received much attention in both basic and applied research. However, there is limited study on the effects of choice of task order on responding. This study examined the effect of choice of task order on on-task behavior, duration to complete the tasks, and problem behaviors in 2 children with autism and 1 child diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome. Low preference tasks were identified via a brief multiple-stimulus preference assessment without replacement (MSWO). These tasks were then presented to participants in a variety of conditions. Alternating treatments (with yoking) and concurrent operants phases were used to assess the effects of choice of task order. The results suggested that when given the opportunity to choose between two conditions (concurrent operants), participants preferred to choose the task order, and on-task behavior increased in 2 participants, duration to complete the tasks decreased for all participants, and rate of problem behaviors decreased to zero for 2 participants. During the concurrent operants assessment, the alternative associated with the opportunity to choose task order produced a higher percentage of on-task behavior, decreased duration to complete tasks, and decreased problem behavior. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autism
  • Choice of task
  • On-task
  • Problem behavior

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  • Sherry Stayer Smeltzer

  • Richard B. Graff

  • William H. Ahearn

  • Myrna E. Libby

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