Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this experiment was to better define the relationship of personality variables to conditionability (responsiveness to verbal operant conditioning) and to find a measure that can differentiate between individuals that are easily conditioned and those who are not easily conditioned. This experiment examined how 56 female undergraduate Ss differed in verbal operant conditioning as a function of whether they experienced control over their environment and whether or not they expected to control the outcomes of their behavior. The half-hour experiment was divided into two procedural phases: In Phase I the Ss completed the Tiffany Experience Control (EC) Scale and the Rotter Internal - External (I - E) Control of Reinforcement Scale which, by a median split on each scale, divided the Ss into four groups of 14. The two Scales are theoretically similar but do not correlate. In Phase II, the Ss were administered the Taffel Sentence Construction Task. It was hypothesized that conditionability would be a function of expected control of reinforcers and experienced control from the environment. The predicted hypotheses were not supported. The results indicated a reversal and a limiting of the hypothesis. Conditionability showed a tendency as a function of the combination of expected and experienced control. The I-E X EC X Blocks of Learning Trials interaction showed a tendency. The main effect for Blocks was significant. The I-E variable may have accounted for some of the variance as opposed to the EC in the interaction. These results suggested that the combined Scales by Blocks may have reached significance if more Blocks of Learning Trials had been required. Tentative explanations for I-E probably accounting for more variance in the I-E X EC X Blocks are offered in terms of awareness, perceived choice and social desirability.


Phyllis G. Tiffany

Date of Award

Fall 1973

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1973 Carl M. Ingram


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