ERIC Number: ED230887
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Non-Contingent Reinforcement on Children.
Tramill, James L.; Kleinhammer, P. Jeannie
Typical learned helplessness research has involved the presentation of non-contingent, aversive events followed by measures of performance on subsequent tasks; recent investigations have focused on the effect of non-contingent rewards. To examine the effects of non-contingent rewards on children, two studies were conducted, in which children were exposed to two series of tasks. For the first task, 24 children, aged 10 to 14, were randomly assigned to 3 reward schedules including contingent reward for correct performance; 100% reward; and random (50%) reward regardless of performance. A fourth group of control subjects were not exposed to the first series of tasks. For the second series of tasks, all children (N=60) received a contingent reward. Response latency and errors on coding tasks served as the dependent measures. In both investigations, significantly greater response latencies were found for children receiving 50% and 100% reward than for those receiving contingent reward or for controls. No statistically reliable differences were found in errors. The findings suggest that current educational practices should be examined to determine whether learned helplessness states are inadvertently produced by instructional or placement procedures in field settings. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association (28th, Dallas, TX, April 15-17, 1982).