Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology


Psychological Sciences


Dr. Rebekah Wanic


Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a common therapeutic technique that has been implemented since the 1960s as a method of teaching appropriate social and functional behaviors to children on the Autism Spectrum and related disorders. ABA focuses on altering behavior by controlling the Antecedents and Consequences related to the targeted Behavior. ABA is only implemented by trained practitioners, who select from a variety of Consequence options when determining how to modify a given child’s Behavior. Because ABA is rooted in Behavioral Psychology and techniques of learning theory, it is possible that Psychological education may play a role in the determination of appropriate consequences for the child. The aim of the present study was to determine whether differential exposure to Psychological concepts (operationalized by the number of Psychology courses taken) would impact preference for certain Consequences. Participants were asked to read 3 situations describing a child’s behavior and rank their preference of the Consequence to be administered from a set of provided options. Consistent with hypotheses, students with more exposure to Psychological concepts (e.g., 5+ courses or a Cognitive course) displayed different Consequence preferences from those not exposed and were more likely to select an appropriate Consequence. Unexpectedly, this result appeared primarily in Situation 3. The results suggest that further exploration is warranted and that a Psychological education can influence ABA consequence choices.