NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1002964
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 75
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2933
Examining the Reinforcing Properties of Making Sense: A Preliminary Investigation
Wray, Alisha M.; Dougher, Michael J.; Hamilton, Derek A.; Guinther, Paul M.
Psychological Record, v62 n4 p599-622 Fall 2012
Acceptance and commitment therapy asserts that in clinical problems such as rumination and depression, making sense continues despite accompanying aversive consequences, because sense-making is reinforcing, particularly when it leads to experiential avoidance. The following series of experiments aimed to provide preliminary empirical evidence for this hypothesis by comparing college students' preferences for a solvable laboratory task with response-contingent reinforcement to a formally similar but unsolvable task, on which equal amounts of reinforcement were presented independent of performance. When asked to choose, participants reliably preferred solvable or neutral tasks over unsolvable tasks according to self-report as well as concurrent and forced-choice behavioral procedures. These studies also aimed to investigate whether individuals preferred the solvable condition because it was positively reinforcing or because avoiding the unsolvable condition was negatively reinforcing. Results are consistent with the theory that making sense may continue despite adverse consequences because of experiential avoidance. (Contains 2 tables, 6 figures and 4 footnotes.)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mailcode 4609, Rehabilitation Institute, Carbondale, IL 62901-4609. Tel: 618-536-7704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A