Graduation Date

Summer 8-12-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin C. Luczynski

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicole M. Rodriguez

Third Advisor

Dr. Catalina N. Rey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Regina A. Carroll


Young children break rules (i.e., transgress) and then lie about those transgressions. By adolescence, lying is associated with decreased trust, communication, and quality of relationships, and befriending antisocial peers. To decrease lies, we replicated differentially reinforcing honest reports about transgressions for one 6-year-old neurotypical child and two 7-year-old children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. After all children learned to report honestly about transgressions, we extended on past research to decrease transgressions by differentially reinforcing play behaviors that children could engage in instead of transgressions. For all children, this resulted in increased levels of play, decreased transgressions, and continued honesty about infrequent transgressions. Caregivers were satisfied with children’s increased honest reports and decreased transgressions. The results support first reinforcing children’s honest reports about transgressions and then decreasing transgressions to satisfying levels for caregivers.

Available for download on Sunday, July 07, 2024