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The Effect of Monetary Reward and Knowledge of Results on Complex-Choice Reaction Times

Description: This investigation was designed to determine relative effects of monetary reward and knowledge of results on complex-choice reaction time tasks. Subjects were twenty-five male and thirty-two female undergraduate students. Apparatus consisted of nine stimulus lights and eight response keys. Subjects were required to add the number of lights presented, subtract the sum from a constant, and press the correctly numbered response key. Reward subjects received twenty-five cents for responses faster than a predetermined criterion, and twenty-five cents was deducted for slower responses. Knowledge of results subjects were told their reaction times after each trial. Results indicated (1) no significant differences between any conditions, (2) a significant overall practice effect (.01 level), and (3) that males were significantly faster than females (.01 level).
Date: May 1975
Creator: Davies, Terry Barnett
Partner: UNT Libraries

Learned Helplessness: The Result of the Uncontrollability of Reinforcement or the Result of the Uncontrollability of Aversive Stimuli?

Description: This research demonstrates that experience with uncontrollable reinforcement, here defined as continuous non-contingent positive feedback to solution attempts of insoluble problems, fails to produce the proactive interference phenomenon, learned helplessness, while uncontrollable aversive events, here defined as negative feedback to solution attempts of insoluble problems, produces that phenomenon. These results partially support the "learned helplessness" hypothesis of Seligman (1975) which predicts that experience with uncontrollable reinforcement, the offset of negative events or the onset of positive ones, results in learning that responding is independent of reinforcement and that learning transfers to subsequent situations. This research further demonstrates that experience with controllability, here defined as solubility, results in enhanced competence.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Benson, James S.
Partner: UNT Libraries