Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1975

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Robert Adams

Abstract

This study examined the effects of reinforcement and reinforcement plus information on both appropriate and inappropriate behavior in subjects provided with direct reinforcement and those seated adjacent to them. Four female kindergarten subjects who were of average intelligence were chosen on the basis of engaging in a relatively high percentage of inappropriate behavior. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two pairs and within each pair, one subject was randomly designated as the one to be administered direct reinforcement (target subject). The remaining subject in each pair (non-target subject) received no direct reinforcement but was seated adjacent to the target subject. Each pair of the subjects were then exposed to seven experimental conditions: baseline, reinforcement for appropriate behavior, reversal, reinforcement f or inappropriate behavior, reinforcement for appropriate behavior with information about the contingencies, reinforcement for inappropriate behavior with information about the contingencies, reinforcement for appropriate behavior with information about the contingencies. Changes in the non-target subjects were observed as a function of witnessing a target subject receive reinforcement for appropriate behavior. When inappropriate behavior was reinforced in the target subjects, only slight changes were observed in the non-target subjects. Information about the contingencies increased the effectiveness of reinforcement in all subjects. This was particularly relevant to inappropriate behavior. The results are discussed with regard to the vicarious reinforcement literature and with regard to the efficacy of providing information along with reinforcement in order to augment it.

Rights

Copyright 1975 Joseph C. Witt

Comments

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