Title page for ETD etd-11102005-152407

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Vorndran, Christina Marie
URN etd-11102005-152407
Title The Effects of Discrimination Training on Choice-Making Accuracy during Symbolic Preference Assessment Formats
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
George Noell Committee Chair
Dorothea Lerman Committee Co-Chair
Kristin Gansle Committee Member
Nathan Call Committee Member
Jack Beggs Dean's Representative
  • generalization
  • verbal preference assessment
  • choice
  • developmental disabilities
  • discrimination training
  • preference assessment
Date of Defense 2005-11-04
Availability unrestricted
The right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live fulfilling and normalized lives has been a focus of federal legislation and applied research over the past 30 years. Research has primarily focused on the identification and incorporation of preferred items and activities into the home and community environments of these individuals. Because of cognitive and communication limitations, some individuals with developmental disabilities require training to make choices that accurately reflect their preferences. Verbal choice methods are commonly used in everyday clinical practice; however, the accuracy of these methods for identifying actual preferences depends on the individualís ability to make auditory discriminations. Discrimination training is a strategy commonly used to teach a variety of discriminations to individuals with developmental disabilities. However, no studies to date have evaluated the efficacy of discrimination training for teaching individuals with developmental disabilities to make auditory discriminations for the purpose of improving choice-making accuracy during symbolic preference assessments.

The present study evaluated the direct and generalized effects of discrimination training on the choice-making abilities of three individuals with developmental disabilities. Results indicated that training was successful for improving choice-making accuracy for all three participants when a limited number of choices was presented. A generalization strategy of training multiple choice exemplars was moderately successful in transferring the effects of training to choices in the context of a larger assessment.

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