Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science


Health Professions

Committee Member(s)

Dr. Michele Williams

Dr. Kara Wunderlich

Dr. Ashley Matter

Supervising Faculty Member

Dr. Michele Williams


Previous studies have shown when edible and leisure items (e.g., toys) are combined in multiple-stimulus-without-replacement (MSWO) preference assessments, edible items are often more preferred than leisure items by individuals with developmental disabilities (Bojak & Carr, 1999; DeLeon et al., 1997; Fahmie et al., 2015). However, how the inclusion of high-tech items (e.g., iPads ®, tablets, computers) affects preferences when compared to edible items is limited in this body of research. More recently, Conine and Vollmer (2019) demonstrated high-tech items might displace edible items; due to the recent influx of high-tech tangible items used as reinforcers in clinical settings, such as iPads, additional research is warranted. In the current evaluation, we compared the preferences for edible items and high-tech items in an assessment to determine if a displacement effect exists. Next, we manipulated the magnitude of both stimulus classes to assess how greater magnitude influences preference. Results showed high-tech leisure items were more preferred over edible items for 2 out of 3 subjects during the combined MSWO. However, regardless of the magnitude across stimuli, edible items were more likely to be selected during the magnitude assessment in the current study. Implications of the findings as well as future research ideas will be discussed in detail.

Rights Holder

Morgan Smith