A comparative test of the status envy, social power, and secondary reinforcement theories of identificatory learning

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Predictions derived from 3 prominent theories of identificatory learning were tested in 3-person groups representing prototypes of the nuclear family. In 1 condition an adult assumed the role of controller of positive reinforcers. Another adult was the consumer of these resources, while the child, a participant O in the triad, was essentially ignored. In a 2nd treatment condition, one adult controlled the rewarding resources; the child, however, was the recipient of the positive reinforcers, while the other adult was assigned a subordinate and powerless role. Following the experimental social interactions the 2 adult models exhibited divergent patterns of behavior in the presence of the child, and a measure was obtained of the degree to which the child subsequently patterned his behavior after that of the models. Children imitated primarily the model who possessed rewarding power rather than the competitor for the rewards. Moreover, power inversions on the part of the male and female models produced cross-sex imitation, particularly in girls. (21 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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