Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Mark W. Steege PhD

Second Advisor

Rachel Brown PhD

Third Advisor

Wayne W. Fisher PhD


Discriminative stimuli, functional communication training, PsyD


The purpose of this dissertation is to describe a doctoral research study designed to compare use of contrived and naturally occurring discriminative stimuli when using multiple schedules to thin reinforcement following functional communication training and their subsequent efficacy when introduced to novel contexts. Results indicated for one participant training with contrived stimuli was most effective, both contrived and naturally occurring stimuli were similarly effective for a second, and further modifications of a) pairing specific therapists to training conditions and, (b) adding toys during EXT components were necessary for either training condition to be effective for a third. For one participant, contrived discriminative stimuli were necessary to generalize the effects of FCT in novel contexts that are topographically similar.