Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1974

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Ronald G. Smith


This experiment investigated the effect of pairing a primary reinforcer with a social reinforcer on the subsequent effectiveness of social reinforcement alone. The S was an eight year old hospitalized boy diagnosed as schizophrenic. S’s peer interaction time was first measured during four consecutive daily baseline sessions. During the following 12 treatment sessions, 30 seconds of peer interaction were followed by praise alone during the first four sessions, praise paired with candy during the second four sessions, and praise alone during the third four sessions. Praise alone at first had very little effect on peer interaction. When praise was paired with candy, peer interaction time increased to a high level. Finally, when praise was again presented alone, it remained effective in maintaining a high rate of peer interaction. Consistent with operant expectations, for this S, pairing social reinforcement with primary reinforcement was an effective method of enhancing the subsequent effectiveness of social reinforcement alone.


Copyright 1974 Peggy J. Dey


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