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The effects of choice opportunity between tasks on self-control in children with typical development and with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Grant number: 13/16564-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2014
Effective date (End): March 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Antonio Celso de Noronha Goyos
Grantee:Fernanda Castanho Calixto
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Impulsivity is understood in behavior analysis as the choice of immediate reinforcement of lesser magnitude in detriment of delayed reinforcement of greater magnitude. Self-control would be set to the opposite relationship: choosing a delayed reinforcement of greater magnitude over the choice of an immediate reinforcement of lesser magnitude. Children and adults with atypical development and children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typically described as more impulsive compared to adults and children with typical development. Investigations of the variables that affect the development of the repertoire of self-control in children with atypical development and children diagnosed with ASD have, besides the scientific importance, a huge potential for practical application in intervention programs with this population. The development to self-control, especially in populations with a higher probability of impulsive behaviors, is desirable to enable individuals to contact long term reinforcements, but with great impact on your life (school, good health, etc.). The overall goal of this work is to develop a procedure to increase the repertoire of self-control in typically developing children and children diagnosed with ASD. Study 1 will be performed with 10 children aged between 4 and 7 years with typical development and will aim to install behavioral basic prerequisites for choice between a card paired with immediate reinforcement of lesser magnitude and card paired with an delayed reinforcement of greater magnitude. Initially there will be an evaluation of preference items with the potential to be used as reinforcements. In Phase 1 there will be a simple discrimination training with reversion which the choice of a card will be followed with the reinforcement and the choice the other card will lead to the next trial. In phase 2 the training of the magnitude of the reinforcement with reversion will be performed, the choice of a card will be followed with the reinforcement of lesser magnitude and the choice of other card will be followed with the reinforcement of greater magnitude. In phase 3 the delay of the reinforcement will be introduced, the choice of a card will be followed with a delayed reinforcement and the delay will increase gradually. The choice of another card will be followed with the reinforcement of lesser magnitude. The objective of Study 2 will be to investigate the effects of choice opportunity between tasks to be conducted during the delay of reinforcement of greater magnitude on typical development children self-control. In Condition with Free Choice participant may choose between two activities to engage while waiting for a delayed reinforcement. In Forced Choice Condition the experimenter will provide only one activity while waiting for a delayed reinforcement. Study 1 and 2 shall be conducted with typical development children to ensure the effectiveness of the procedures in this type of population before exposing children diagnosed with ASD to the same procedures. Study 3 will be performed with the objective of replicate Studies 1 and 2 with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Study 3 will be performed with 10 children aged between 4 and 7 years. The procedures performed are the same in Studies 1 and 2.