Date of Award:

2001

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gretchen A. Gimpel

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to observe and analyze the factors that lead to a child's increase in responding to a previously neutral stimulus after observing another child's behavior and consequences in the same setting. The effects of five video presentations on rate of button-pressing responses were observed across four students. Rates of button-pressing behavior on an FR3 schedule of reinforcement were collected for each student using a computer and a metal apparatus with two flat push buttons. Each student completed two baseline phases to establish neutrality of stimuli, and viewed a total of five video presentations. Each video segment contained a model engaging in button pressing and receiving tokens under various social and nonsocial conditions, which would potentially serve as reinforcers. Rates of responding were recorded immediately after each video presentation. Three of the four students' rates of responding increased and surpassed their levels of responding during baseline sessions. From these results, it was concluded that neutral stimuli can acquire reinforcing properties for children through an observational learning procedure. It is suggested that observational learning (the presentation of a model engaging in a specific behavior) might be considered and establishing operation to temporarily increase the value of a reinforcer.

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Psychology Commons

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