Date: August 2005
Creator: Harmon, D. Austin
Description: Inaccurate instructions have been shown to interfere with or override the effects of otherwise effective behavioral contingencies. This effect may be mediated by such factors as the discriminability of current contingencies, histories with accurate and inaccurate instructions, and consequences associated with following instructions. The current experiment investigated the effects of instructions (both accurate and inaccurate) on response patterns when paired with feedback regarding correspondence between responding and instructions, feedback indicating potential point loss for non-correspondence, and point loss for non-correspondence. Inaccurate instructions produced only small and temporary disruptions in response patterns, as did the addition of feedback alone and feedback indicating potential point loss. The introduction of escalating point losses contingent on non-correspondence, ranging from 20%-50% of points earned, produced changes in response patterns that corresponded to the inaccurate instructions. These outcomes indicate that the imposition of direct consequences for noncompliance may alter the effects of other contingencies. Depending on the point at which point losses disrupt responding, such effects may be interpreted in terms of point loss avoidance or, alternatively, maximizing point gains.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries