Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Jacob Gewirtz

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Martha Pelaez

Third Advisor's Name

Mary Levitt


Behavior Variability, Behavior Persistence, Resistance to Extinction, Single- and Multiple-Response Topographies

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to compare response rates and resistance to extinction in single-task and multiple-task phases. Research was conducted with thirty undergraduate college students in a controlled experimental setting. Each Participant was exposed to 4 treatment phases: single-task, fixed-ratio of one (ST-FR1), multiple-task fixed-ratio of one (MT-FR1), single-task fixed-ratio of 5 (ST-FR5) and multiple-task fixed-ratio of 5 (MT-FR5) all beginning with a baseline phase and reverting back to baseline after the first two conditions were presented. Half of the Participants received the single-task phase first, and the other half received the multiple-task phase first, in order to observe the behavior in transition. A trials-to-criterion measure was used to determine how long it took each Participant’s behavior to adapt to the new contingency in the next phase, which was presented without any signal.

The data reveal that regardless of the order of phase presentation it took Participants more than twice as long to reach the criterion in the single-task phases, than in the multiple-task phases.





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