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ERIC Number: EJ931956
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8855
The Role of Negative Reinforcement in Infant Caregiving: An Experimental Simulation
Thompson, Rachel H.; Bruzek, Jennifer L.; Cotnoir-Bichelman, Nicole M.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, v44 n2 p295-304 Sum 2011
We observed 11 undergraduates in an experiment designed to simulate infant caregiving. In negative reinforcement conditions experienced by all participants, a targeted caregiving response (e.g., rocking a baby doll) produced escape from, and avoidance of, a recorded infant cry. Nine participants' caregiving was shown to be controlled by this negative reinforcement contingency. Nine participants experienced an extinction condition that consisted of an inescapable cry, and the previously reinforced caregiving responses of 2 of these participants were resistant to extinction. For both of these participants, the previously reinforced response was eliminated when an alternative form of caregiving was reinforced. These results highlight the role of negative reinforcement in infant caregiving and suggest the need for additional research on the effects of crying on caregivers as well as the development of effective strategies for minimizing infant crying. (Contains 4 figures.)
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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A