Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Catherine Nicholson

Second Advisor

Victoria Follette

Third Advisor

Kimberly Sloman

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


Differentiating tastes is important for safety reasons; being able to discriminate flavors could prevent an individual from eating unsafe items. The association of taste, color, and texture of different foods is important for safety reasons as it provides a base knowledge of safe foods. As some people with autism have problems communicating what they see, hear, touch, feel, or taste, the association of color, texture, and taste will promote healthy choices. Most of the research on tact acquisition has focused on visual stimuli. However, this study attempted to teach children to tact gustatory stimuli and evaluated the effects of instructive feedback on the color and texture of the flavored-foods tasted with different probes. With black-out goggles, two children diagnosed with autism participated in the study. One participant was able to differentiate the different flavors taught while the other participant was not. Regarding to the secondary targets, both participants were able to reach mastery criteria on the probes where the participants did not have to taste anything. Findings suggest that teaching gustatory tacts may be feasible for children with autism. Future research and implications are discussed.


Copryight held by author.