Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Arthur Falk


This research had four goals: (1) to refine the theory of performance management based on rule-governed behavior and refine the three-contingency model of performance. management, (2) to develop a university-level programmed instruction unit to teach the three-contingency model of performance management, (3) to test for functional independence between response classes—using concept-discrimination and concept-exemplification, and (4) to test a common assumption of programmed instruction— the necessity for active responding (this assumption was tested with both concept-discrimination training and concept-exemplification training).

Participants included fifty-nine undergraduates enrolled in a behavior analysis course. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (1) the active concept-discrimination and active exemplification-training group, (2) the passive concept-discrimination and passive exemplification-training group, (3) the active concept-discrimination and passive exemplification-train ing group, and (4) a control group. A pretest and posttest measured concept-discrimination mastery and exemplification- response mastery. There were no significant differences between the four groups on either the pretest or the posttest. Furthermore, none of the groups showed significant improvement from pretest to posttest of either concept-discrimination mastery or exemplification response mastery. Because of this lack of improvement, the experiment was not able to test for functional independence of response classes or the relevance of active responding. This lack of improvement was not due to a ceiling effect on the pretest, because the pretest mean percentage correct for the four groups ranged from 76% to 83% for concept-discrimination and from 83% to 89% for exemplification-response; there was room for significant improvement. The lack of progress may have resulted from a test that did not adequately measure the repertoires the programmed instruction was teaching, or it may be that the programmed instruction did not teach.

Considerable progress was made toward the refinement of the three-contingency model, and the development of this initial programmed instruction unit. Further research and development should be done on instructional materials and mastery measures.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access