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October 2021

Conditioning music and approval as new reinforcers for imitative behavior with the severely retarded

Journal/Book: Journal of Music Therapy. 1975; 12: Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. National Association for Music Therapy. 30-39.

Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to examine (1) the effect of secondary reinforcers on the performance of imitative behaviors, (2) study the effect of the conditioning process on an approval reinforcement condition and an approval plus music condition, and (3) determine the durability of the newly conditioned reinforcers across a second baseline period. Three multiply handicapped, non-ambulatory non-verbal, severely retarded females served as subjects. During the baseline periods one imitative behavior for each subject was trained and tested under two conditions, (1) verbal approval, and (2) verbal approval and ten seconds of music listening. For the treatment period, the behavior was trained and tested under three conditions, (1) approval, (2) approval and music, and (3) approval, music and food. Results of the study showed that approval and the approval plus music paired did not function as reinforcers during the initial baseline period. Combining approval, music, and food as a reinforcement condition during the treatment period increased the number of test trials.

Keyword(s): music, conditioning, reinforcer, reinforcement, music-listening, imitation, imitative-behavior, mental-retardation, developmental-disabilities, severe-mental-retardation, approval.

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