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Choosing Choice: An Assessment of Children's Preference to Choose

The current study examined the effects of choosing among alternatives for five children in a series of experiments. In the first, a concurrent-chains arrangement was used to assess all participant’s preferences for choice making. Initial link selections resulted in access to terminal links in which the completed task resulted (a) the choice of identical reinforcers (choice), (b) the delivery of an identical reinforcer (no-choice), or (c) no reinforcer delivered (control). One of the five participants showed an initial preference for choice, the others had either an inconsistent preference or were indifferent. Additional evaluations were conducted (Experiments 2 and 4) to demonstrate whether preference for choice could be established by either increasing variability of the stimuli, or by increasing the number of stimuli from which to choose. Choice-link selections increased for one participant when more items were available from which to choose and for another participant when the items from which to choose varied. Experiment 3 and 5 quantified the value of the opportunity to choose using progressively increasing schedule requirements during the choice terminal link for the three children who demonstrated a preference for choice. All three children continued to select the choice link even when the schedule requirements in the choice link were much higher than that in the no-choice link.
Type of thesis
Penman, J. A. (2016). Choosing Choice: An Assessment of Children’s Preference to Choose (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10874
University of Waikato
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