Examining the reinforcing value of stimuli within social and non-social contexts in children with and without high-functioning autism.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL: 
DeLeon IG
Author List: 
Goldberg MC
Allman MJ
Hagopian LP
Triggs MM
Frank-Crawford MA
Mostofsky SH
Denckla MB
DeLeon IG
PubMed ID: 
One of the key diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder includes impairments in social interactions. This study compared the extent to which boys with high-functioning autism and typically developing boys "value" engaging in activities with a parent or alone. Two different assessments that can empirically determine the relative reinforcing value of social and non-social stimuli were employed: paired-choice preference assessments and progressive-ratio schedules. There were no significant differences between boys with high-functioning autism and typically developing boys on either measure. Moreover, there was a strong correspondence in performance across these two measures for participants in each group. These results suggest that the relative reinforcing value of engaging in activities with a primary caregiver is not diminished for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Published Date: 
July, 2016

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