Description: Ninety-six undergraduates were given four tasks under either reward or punishment conditions. Each task consisted of 20 trials of pressing or not pressing a button to make a light come on. Monetary reinforcement was contingent on light onset for all tasks and on accuracy of judgment of control for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tasks. Cognitive processing was comprehensively assessed for each task by measuring expectancy, judgment of control, perception of environmental stimuli, evaluation of performance, attribution, and reinforcement value. Results showed that subjects were more accurate in moderate than in low control and in low than moderate frequency. Females were more accurate in perceiving environmental stimuli and had lower self-esteem, lower efficacy expectancies, and higher self-rated reinforcement values for monetary incentives than males. Low defensives were accurate in expectancy of control, judgment of control in punishment, and estimation of environmental stimuli. Subjects in reward were more accurate in perceiving reinforcing events and they gave themselves more credit for task performance than subjects in punishment gave themselves blame for comparable performance. Those in punishment had more stable and external attributions and were more anxious, depressed, and hostile. Depressives and nondepressives reacted differently to the monetary contingency on accuracy of judgment of control. Depressives showed overestimation of control immediately after initiation of this contingency, then gradually decreased their estimation until they were relatively accurate on the last task. Nondepressives showed more accurate judgment of control immediately after monetary contingency on accuracy, but returned to overestimation on subsequent tasks. These findings gave partial support to Alloy and Abramson (1979) in that mild depressives became increasingly accurate in judgment of control across tasks. Female depressives, compared to female nondepressives, were less accurate in perceiving environmental stimuli and gave themselves less credit in reward. Although depressives did not set a particularly high criterion for ...
Date: August 1987
Creator: Tang, So-kum Catherine
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation