Effects of reinforcement history for following rules on sensitivity to contingencies of reinforcement [electronic resource] /
Effects of Reinforcement History for Following Rules
on Sensitivity to Contingencies of Reinforcement
The present experiment manipulated subjects’ experimental history of reinforcement for
following rules in order to assess sensitivity to contingency changes. Ten undergraduate students
were presented with four training tasks. Half the subjects were presented with instructions that
corresponded with the reinforcement contingencies for these tasks (Accurate Instructions group),
while the other half was presented with instructions that did not correspond with the
reinforcement contingencies (Inaccurate Instructions group). After meeting stability criteria,
unsignaled changes in the contingencies of one of the tasks were made to test for sensitivity.
Although the behavior of all the subjects eventually changed after contacting the changed
contingencies, results suggest that the behavior of the inaccurately instructed subjects was more
likely to contact the differential availability of points during testing. These data lend support to
the notion that subjects' history of reinforcement with rules affects sensitivity. Nonetheless, it is
not clear whether sensitivity to the differential availability of points required subjects' initial
history of responding to correspond with the responding that led to reinforcement during testing.
Directions for future research are suggested.
School:West Virginia University
School Location:USA - West Virginia
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:reinforcement psychology rules philosophy
Date of Publication: