Graduate Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Project Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Behavioral Science

Supervisory Committee Chair

Patricio Jaramillo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Rothstein, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Patty Dodds, Ph.D.


This single subject experiment was conducted to determine whether a 23-year-old male could be taught to swallow his saliva, thus eliminating his drooling behavior. The subject had been diagnosed as severely retarded early in life and was reported to have drooled his entire life. The experiment was conducted in the sheltered workshop where the subject is employed, utilizing positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise, Kennedy half dollars and participation in social events. The subject learned to swallow quickly and easily. His drooling behavior was eliminated and apparent generalizations. had positive effects on his work habits, social behavior, and even his attention span. The experiment seems to indicate that the severely retarded can be taught relatively difficult and complicated tasks using positive reinforcement only.



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