Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Second Advisor

Howard Farris

Third Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua


This study was a component analysis of several procedures commonly employed in behavioral vocational rehabilitation programs. The work rate of retarded subjects was assessed under four conditions: (1) baseline; (2) verbal prompts; (3) verbal prompts and social reinforcement; and (4) verbal prompts, social reinforcement, and monetary reinforcement. Subjects were four, moderately retarded, male clients of a sheltered workshop. The experimental task involved assembly of a metal knife composed of four separate pieces. Treatment effects were analyzed within a mixed multielement reversal design where each subject served as his own control. Results showed that baseline sessions, all started with the simple instruction, "Begin work," generated substantial, steady work rates. Verbal prompts, given independent of the subject's ongoing performance and uncorrelated with reinforcement, failed to increase subject work rate above baseline levels. Verbal prompts and social reinforcement produced a higher rate than verbal prompts alone in all four subjects. Verbal prompts, social reinforcement, and tangible reinforcement advanced work rate above that for verbal prompts and social reinforcement in only one out of four subjects.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access