Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Michael Kelley

Second Advisor

David Wilder

Third Advisor

Catherine Nicholson

Fourth Advisor

Sherry Jensen


In the field of behavior analysis, access to reinforcement is generally referred to as being either an open or a closed economy. However, little research exists on the varying degrees of reinforcer exposure that may occur between the parameters of “open” and “closed.” The current study compares varying degrees of economies utilizing closed, 33% open, 66% open, and open economy conditions with three participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Prior to analysis, all participants completed an evaluation to determine whether their preferences remained stable over multiple sessions and whether they were sensitive to a satiation operation. Results are evaluated in terms of response rate, average break point, demand curve, and work-rate function. Overall response rates and break points were highest in the closed economy conditions for all participants. Likewise, demand curves and work-rate functions for all participants indicated the least elasticity under closed economy conditions. Implications and future directions based on these results are discussed.


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