A Comparison of Noncontingent and Synchronous Reinforcement on Task Engagement



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Synchronous schedules of reinforcement are those in which the onset and offset of a reinforcer are synchronized with the onset and offset of a target behavior. The current study replicated and extended Diaz de Villegas et al. (2020) through the evaluation of a synchronous schedule of reinforcement with a noncontingent schedule of reinforcement by evaluating the on-task behavior (completing math facts) of school-age children. A concurrent-chains preference assessment was then used to determine the preferred schedule of reinforcement. In addition, task preference assessments were conducted prior to and after the reinforcer assessment to determine potential mechanisms of noncontingent reinforcement. Results indicated that while synchronous schedules of reinforcement are more effective at increasing on-task behavior, noncontingent schedules of reinforcement may be more preferred. Additionally, the use of synchronous and noncontingent schedules of reinforcement are insufficient at manipulating the preference of a task item.



on-task behavior, academic skills, reinforcement, schedules, synchronous reinforcement, noncontingent reinforcement