Visual, Auditory, and Vibratory Stimulation as Reinforcers for Profoundly Retarded Children

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Abstract

Response-contingent visual, auditory and vibratory stimulations, programmed on separate manipulanda, were made available to four institutionalized, profoundly retarded, multi-handicapped children. When lever pressing was consequated with four seconds of one sensory stimulation, in any order selected by the child, each child showed a marked rise in responding. The results showed that sensory stimulation is a reinforcer for these children, and that they are not “helpless vegetables.” When provided with the appropriate manipulanda and the opportunity, they responded positively and differentially to three different kinds of stimuli.

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