Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bradley Huitema

Third Advisor

Dr. Heather McGee

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John Austin

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the specificity of rule statements and contingency delivery (i.e., follow-through or lack thereof) as described in the rule would impact participant task performance. Participants included 37 undergraduate students at a Midwestern University. The dependent variable was the number of correctly completed checks processed in a simulated check entry program. The independent variables were specificity of rule statements and contingency delivery. A 2x2 factor design was used. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: Group One received rule statements that specified the exact number of checks to be processed during a given session and the contingency was delivered as stated in the rule statement, contingent on performance; Group Two received rule statements that specified the exact number of checks to be processed during a given session and the contingency was delivered inconsistently on a variable ratio three (VR-3) schedule; Group Three received rule statements that specified the requirement for the participant to perform at an ambiguous performance criterion during the session and the contingency was delivered as stated in the rule statement, contingent on performance; Group Four received rule statements that specified the requirement for the participant to perform at an ambiguous performance criterion during the session and the contingency was delivered inconsistently on a variable ratio three (VR-3) schedule. Results showed there was a significant effect in performance related to the specificity of the rule statement. Participants who received rule statements that contained the specified rule condition entered significantly more checks correctly than did participants who received vague rules. There was no statically significant difference in checks entered correctly from participants who received the consistent delivery condition versus participants who received the inconsistent delivery condition.

Comments

Fifth advisor: Dr. Kevin J. Munson

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

12-15-2032

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