Date of Award






Degree Type

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Stephanie da Silva

Second Advisor

Mark Schmidt

Third Advisor

Cindy Ticknor


Autoshaping is a procedure, combining both operant conditioning and classical conditioning, used in animal training to jump-start a target behavior. Lepper and Petursdottir (2017) found that response-contingent pairings (RCP) were more effective than responseindependent pairings (RIP) in producing vocalizations in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). RIP procedures entail a time-based intertrial interval (ITI) followed by the beginning of a trial, whereas RCP procedures include a response initiation period between the ITI and the trial. The current study compared RCP and RIP procedures to determine which one was more effective for acquisition of nose poking in rats. Number of days to reach acquisition (poking on at least 90% of trials) of nose poking, percent of trials with the target nose poke, and the latency to nose poke were recorded as indexes of procedure efficacy. All rats reached acquisition in RCP by the end of the study; however, one rat never reached acquisition in RIP. All rats required fewer sessions to acquisition in RCP than RIP, indicating that RCP may be more effective in autoshaping the nose poke behavior in rats. Extensions of this finding could be in autoshaping procedures and even in producing vocalizations in children with ASD.

Included in

Psychology Commons