Several research laboratories have found that instructed behavior can be less sensitive to changes in contingencies than shaped behavior. The current experiment examined whether these differences in sensitivity could be related to resistance to change. Two groups of subjects, who were matched on the basis of an initial disruption assessment, were exposed to a variable-interval 30-s schedule of reinforcement with and without a disrupter. The disrupter was a video presentation of a popular television situation comedy. One group received minimal instructions (MI) that told them only that they could earn points exchangeable for money. Each member of the second group received a complete instruction (CI) that described the topography of the target response that was yoked to a MI subject's stable baseline response rate. The response rates under the disruption condition for the CI subjects were more resistant to change than the MI subjects in 14 out of 15 disruption sessions. These findings are discussed in terms of resistance to change being increased by instructional conditions like those manipulated and that the procedures used to test disruption provide an additional method to !waluate differences between instructed and contingency-governed behavior.
Podlesnik, Christoopher A. and Chase, Philip N.
"Sensitivity and Strength: Effects of Instructions on Resistance to Change,"
The Psychological Record:
2, Article 11.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol56/iss2/11