Reinforcer Identification in Infants

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Recent research with adults and children with disabilities has yielded procedures for systematically identifying potential reinforcers. Used primarily with adults with developmental disabilities, this methodology, stimulus preference assessment, has been shown to accurately identify stimuli as reinforcers and rank them according to effectiveness. Although preference procedures have been used in basic infant research, no methodology specifically designed to compare various potential reinforcers for infants has been developed. As many operant interventions with infants involve reinforcer-based procedures, reliable knowledge about potential reinforcers would be of great value. An adaptation of the stimulus preference assessment procedure for use with infants is proposed and discussed along with the potential practical benefits of such a procedure.

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