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October 2021

Sensory reinforcement of head turning with nonambulatory, profoundly mentally retarded persons

Author(s): Whiteley, J. H.

Journal/Book: Res Dev Disabil. 1987; 8: 413-26.

Abstract: Two experiments examined the reinforcing value of response contingent sensory events consisting of combinations of visual, auditory, and vibratory stimulation. Ten nonambulatory, profoundly mentally retarded individuals participated in these studies. Four different stimulus combinations were required to achieve operant conditioning of head turning responses in 6 participants. These sensory reinforcers included 5-s simultaneous presentations of picture, music, and vibration (N = 2), picture and music (N = 2), picture and vibration (N = 1), and picture alone (N = 1). These results indicate that systematically varying a multimodal sensory event is a fruitful procedure for identifying positive reinforcers for nonambulatory, profoundly mentally retarded persons.

Note: Department of Psychology Laurentian University Sudbury Ontario.

Keyword(s): Conditioning, Operant|. Mental Retardation|RH. Reinforcement (Psychology)|. Sensation|

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