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

Melissa Cheryl Goldberg, Melissa J. Allman, Louis P Hagopian, Mandy M. Triggs, Michelle A. Frank-Crawford, Stewart H Mostofsky, Martha Bridge Denckla, Iser G. DeLeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-895
Number of pages15
JournalAutism
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

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Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • high-functioning autism
  • mother–child interaction
  • preference
  • progressive-ratio
  • reward
  • social
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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