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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Experiment 1 was designed to investigate student patterns of responding during fixed-interval (FI) 30-s reinforcement. During the experiment, students were able to respond to multiplication problems by typing answers on the keyboard. Correct answers/min were calculated by the computer program and automatically recorded on disk. Following the experiment, students were questioned regarding what they believed to be the best way to earn the money while working problems. Outcomes from the first experiment showed that only one of the five students was dominated by a pause-respond pattern of temporal disparity. This student provided a verbal rule that accurately described the contingencies associated with FI reinforcement. The other four students in this experiment responded at relatively constant rates in the majority of their intervals and provided verbal descriptions of contingencies suggesting that reinforcement became available only after the completion of a number or a changing number of problems. Experiment 2 replicated the preparations of Experiment 1; however, prior to initiated computer-interactive problem solving, the two subjects were shown the accurate rule generated by the subject in Experiment 1 who had exhibited pause-respond performance. Response patterns produced by these subjects showed conspicuous and consistent patterns of pause-respond throughout all intervals of FI 30-s reinforcement. Experiment 3 was conducted to further assess the possibility that scalloping (or some other pattern) might emerge over an extended series of sessions. Outcomes confirmed that performance patterns did not change significantly over sessions. Moreover, the subjects' verbal description of programmed contingencies conformed to the pattern of responding they produced. Outcomes are discussed in terms of self-generated and socially mediated rule-following.

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