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An Evaluation of the Value of Choice with Preschool Children

By Jeffrey H Tiger, Gregory P Hanley and Emma Hernandez


The current study examined the reinforcing effects of choosing among alternatives in a four-part evaluation. In the first study, initial-link responses in a concurrent-chains arrangement resulted in access to terminal links in which the completion of an academic task resulted in (a) the choice of a reinforcer (choice), (b) the delivery of an identical reinforcer (no choice), or (c) no material reinforcer (control). Three patterns of responding emerged: persistent preference for choice (3 participants); initial preference for choice, which did not persist (2 participants); and preference for no choice (1 participant). Additional evaluations determined if preference for choice could be enhanced (Study 2) or established (Study 3) by including more stimuli from which to choose. Choice-link selections systematically increased for all participants when more items were available from which to choose. Study 4 identified the precise value of the opportunity to choose by progressively increasing the response requirement during the choice terminal links for 3 children and determining the point at which these children stopped selecting the choice link. All children continued to select the choice link even when the work required in the choice link was much greater than that arranged in the no-choice link

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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