Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The purpose of the present study was to re-examine the schedule-performance of children, using a complex multiple-schedule of positive reinforcement within a tightly controlled experimental environment, to contribute to the possible generality of previous findings.

Three female children, aged 1, 2, and 4 years responded differentially to light-onset when exposed to a multiple schedule of reinforcement consisting of alternating random-ratio 20 / random-interval 5 second components. With respect to rate of responding and sensitivity to the schedule parameters, the subjects' behavior closely resembled that of nonhumans but differed markedly from that of adult humans. Under an ABACA reversal design, the subjects consistently responded at higher rates in the ratio component than in the interval component, even when interval reinforcement rates were several times the ratio reinforcement rates.

These findings suggest that the schedule parameters were the primary determinant of response rate.

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