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Autism. 2017 Oct;21(7):881-895. doi: 10.1177/1362361316655035. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Examining the reinforcing value of stimuli within social and non-social contexts in children with and without high-functioning autism.

Author information

1
1 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA.
2
2 Kennedy Krieger Institute, USA.
3
3 Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, USA.
4
4 Department of Psychology, University of Florida, USA.

Abstract

One of the key diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder includes impairments in social interactions. This study compared the extent to which boys with high-functioning autism and typically developing boys "value" engaging in activities with a parent or alone. Two different assessments that can empirically determine the relative reinforcing value of social and non-social stimuli were employed: paired-choice preference assessments and progressive-ratio schedules. There were no significant differences between boys with high-functioning autism and typically developing boys on either measure. Moreover, there was a strong correspondence in performance across these two measures for participants in each group. These results suggest that the relative reinforcing value of engaging in activities with a primary caregiver is not diminished for children with autism spectrum disorder.

KEYWORDS:

autism spectrum disorder; high-functioning autism; mother–child interaction; preference; progressive-ratio; reward; social; value

PMID:
27368350
PMCID:
PMC6017987
DOI:
10.1177/1362361316655035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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