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09/01/2004

Choice, Degree of Preference, and Happiness Indices with Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: A Surprising Finding


By: Lisa Schwartzman, Garry L. Martin, C.T. Yu, and John Whiteley

Abstract: Two persons with severe intellectual disabilities and two persons with profound intellectual disabilities were repeatedly presented with five different pairs of food items. The five pairs of items represented different degrees of preference, from highest to lowest. Happiness indices were monitored from the time that a pair of items was presented until a choice was made. Surprisingly, participants showed very few happiness indices throughout the study, and degree of preference had very little effect on frequency of happiness indices. Questions are raised regarding choice opportunities and indices of happiness as indicators of quality of life.
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