Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Two projects tested the reinforcing efficacy of a reduction in effort associated with a computer-based laboratory task. In both projects, college students could earn points exchangeable for money by working on an Imposed task or, by executing a changeover response, they could earn the points on an Alternate task. Of interest was whether access to the Alternate task would reinforce the changeover response. In Project 1 the students tracked a moving target on the screen. In the Imposed task the target was programmed to move faster and change directions more frequently relative to the target in the Alternate task. Despite several manipulations of the task parameters, changeover responding failed to occur reliably. In Project 2 the students copied a string of words that appeared on the screen. In the Imposed task the characters of the words were garbled such that they appeared nonsensical to the student. The words in the Alternate task were written in English and followed a comprehensive storyline. During this project changeover responding was reliably maintained. Developing an effective yet practical method of reinforcing human operant behavior in laboratory experiments remains a challenge.
Hill Morris, Emily, "Developing a Practical Consumable Reinforcer for the Experimental Analysis of Human Operant Behavior" (2012). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3499.