Operant Variability:An Experimental Analysis of Consequential Control over Response Variation
Murray, Clodagh Mary
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This thesis investigated the differences in response variability between children and adolescents with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and neurotypical children and adolescents. It also examined ,methods for increasing variability in individuals with ASD using automated programs and, subsequently, naturalistic toy play settings. Significant differences were found between the two groups and low variability in responding was found to be related to restricted repetitive behaviours in individuals with ASD. The effect of lag schedules on variability was investigated and higher lag values were associated with greater response variability. Lag schedules were also found to increase variability in play actions with toys for children with ASD. Suggestions were made for incorporating lag schedules into early intervention programming for this population.