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Alyssa Palazzolo

Community experience proves educational for psychology students

People respond to incentives, but sometimes the trick is finding the right incentives, says fourth-year psychology student Ashley Cooper.

She worked with a four-year-old boy with autism, trying to get him to pierce a lump of play dough with a fork as a prelude to mastering table manners. His skills improved as she offered inducements like small toys, but he jumped to perfect mastery when offered a chance to play with an iPad as a reward.

“I had waited three weeks before trying the iPad and I was like: Really? All he wanted was the iPad?” says Cooper.