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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The experimenters investigated whether dysphoric and nondysphoric persons differentially exhibited the traditional instructioninduced schedule-insensitivity effect (rule-governed behavior). Dysphoric and nondysphoric participants were given instructions to perform a matching-to-sample task (four blocks, 40 trials each). The instructions in the first half of the study were correct and in the second half, incorrect. Participants were assigned to one of two instructional control conditions in which they read the instruction either privately (tracking condition) or out loud to the experimenter (pliance condition). Dysphoric individuals demonstrated greater schedule sensitivity (less rule-governed behavior) than did nondysphoric persons. No other differences were found. Results indicate that deficits in rule-governed behavior may contribute to depression; however, this experiment did not incorporate procedures to directly test the role of rule-governed experiential avoidance.

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