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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1969. Department of Human Development and the Family.


Copyright 1969, the author. Used by permission.


The major purpose of this study is to investigate the effect and interaction of three variables that appear to be of primary importance in the area of social reinforcement.The study will be designed (1) to determine if different levels of satiation of a social stimulus affect the efficacy of that stimulus to be reinforcing in a discrimination learning task; (2) to determine the effect of three social reinforcement combinations—reward, punishment, and reward-punishment—on performance on a discrimination learning task; and (3) to determine if there is any significant difference in the performance between middle-and lower-class preschool children on a discrimination learning task.

It is hoped that the information obtained in this study will be used to improve teaching techniques with preschool children. Through the careful control of three variables involved in social reinforcement—satiation—deprivation conditions, reward-punishment combinations, and social class—the information can possibly provide a more refined understanding of what occurs in a learning situations when an adult uses social reinforcement with children.This knowledge could then contribute to the more scientific use of social reinforcement by teachers in the preschool setting and by parents in the home. For this reason this writer feels that there is indeed justification for determining the influence and interaction of the satiation-deprivation, reward-punishment, and social class variables in the area of social reinforcement.

Advisor: Jacqueline Voss