Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1977

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Daniel Kaeck


This study investigated the effects of different motivational conditions upon the performance of 128 first-grade public school students using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT). The different conditions used were: 1) reward alone; 2) response cost alone; 3) reward plus response cost; and 4) control. Also in question was whether the sex of the examiner compared to the sex of the subject affects the test performance. No significant differences were found between the reinforcement groups or for the interaction between the sex of the examiner and the sex of the subject. One unexpected significant main effect was found. Males scored significantly higher on the PPVT, which tests verbal receptive abilities, than did the females. This difference was primarily accounted for by significant mean differences between males and female subjects as a function of incentive condition, a second order interaction. An interesting result, though not significant, was found that when reward was given to males, their mean scores increased, while the mean scores for the females decreased when reward was administered. Although the results of this study failed to support findings from previous studies, some suggestions for future research were made in terms of the use of a different test, filming of the testing to score facial expressions, and timing of the interval between the stimulus word presentation and the presentation of the response.


Copyright 1977 Larry Clark


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