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ERIC Number: EJ789961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8855
Sensitivity and Bias under Conditions of Equal and Unequal Academic Task Difficulty
Reed, Derek D.; Martens, Brian K.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, v41 n1 p39-52 Spr 2008
We conducted an experimental analysis of children's relative problem-completion rates across two workstations under conditions of equal (Experiment 1) and unequal (Experiment 2) problem difficulty. Results were described using the generalized matching equation and were evaluated for degree of schedule versus stimulus control. Experiment 1 involved a symmetrical choice arrangement in which the children could earn points exchangeable for rewards contingent on correct math problem completion. Points were delivered according to signaled variable-interval schedules at each workstation. For 2 children, relative rates of problem completion appeared to have been controlled by the schedule requirements in effect and matched relative rates of reinforcement, with sensitivity values near 1 and bias values near 0. Experiment 2 involved increasing the difficulty of math problems at one of the workstations. Sensitivity values for all 3 participants were near 1, but a substantial increase in bias toward the easier math problems was observed. This bias was possibly associated with responding at the more difficult workstation coming under stimulus control rather than schedule control. (Contains 6 figures and 1 table.)
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Available from: Department of Applied Behavioral Science. Kansas University, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045-2133. Tel: 785-841-4425; Fax: 785-841-4425; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A