Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Julie S. Vargas.


Recommendations for improving answer accuracy during programmed instruction have included the use of punishment to decrease the rate of students' responding and to prevent careless mistakes. The effects of punishment during programmed instruction, however, have not been clearly identified. There is evidence that punishment increases attention and decreases response rates during learning tasks, but other effects on student responding, including escape from the learning task, have not been systematically examined. The present study was designed to systematically examine the effects of punishment as well as extinction during programmed instruction. Four college students were recruited to earn money while working on a program of instruction. A three-component MULT schedule was used to examine the effects of reinforcement, extinction, and punishment on students' answer accuracy, response topography, and frequency of escape behavior during learning. Conclusive results were not obtained from the analysis, however, as subjects failed to discriminate the different contingencies in effect during each of the components. The function of the loss of money for incorrect answers during programmed instruction could therefore not be determined in the present analysis. Recommendations for procedural changes are provided that may allow future similar analyses to obtain reliable differences within response measures.