The results are presented in . Deprivation resulted in increased selection of that item for at least one item for all of the participants and at least three items for 4 of the participants. For several items, however, the percentage of trials in which the item was selected was not entirely out of the range of the variability observed during the control condition. This suggests that some of the differences in the percentage of times in which an item was selected might be due the natural fluctuation that occurs across repeated preference assessments. For David and Helen, the deprivation manipulation resulted in the selection of an item that was never chosen during the control or satiation conditions.
Cumulative percentage chosen across, deprivation, satiation, and control conditions for the typically developing children and persons with developmental disabilities.
The satiation manipulation also affected the items chosen. For each participant, at least two items were chosen less frequently following the satiation condition compared to the control condition. In addition, at least one item was never selected by each participant following the satiation manipulation, although all the items were either highly or moderately preferred based on the results of the initial preference assessments.
These results suggest that behavior analysts should further explore the influence of deprivation on the various items included in intervention packages designed to increase engagement. For example, DeLeon, Anders, Rodriguez-Catter, and Neidert (2000)
found that providing a rotating set of toys (i.e., crayons and coloring book or dolls) more effectively reduced the self-injury of an 11-year-old girl with a developmental disability than did a single set of toys (i.e., crayons and coloring book), suggesting that satiation limited the effectiveness of the single set of toys. The results of DeLeon et al. and the current study suggest that researchers should examine the use of both deprivation and satiation on environmental enrichment interventions designed to increase the engagement and to reduce problem behaviors (e.g., competing items in intervention packages). The systematic use of deprivation also might allow researchers to design interventions whose effects will be maintained over an extended period of time, providing a strategy to program maintenance.
Finally, some limitations of the current study should be acknowledged. First, the effect of deprivation and satiation on a relatively small number of high- and medium-preference tangible items was examined. Second, a reinforcer assessment was not included in the current study, so the ability of the items used to maintain or increase behavior was unknown. Third, the deprivation periods used in this study ranged from 24 to 144 hr. However, Klatt, Sherman, and Sheldon (2000)
found few differences between deprivation periods longer than 24 hr on the engagement of persons with disabilities in functional activities, suggesting that the range of deprivation periods used in the current study was not problematic.