Comparison of different patterns of social reinforcement in children's operant learning


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Abstract

A simple motor-operant task was employed to compare the effectiveness of praise and criticism as positive and negative social reinforcements for children. Ss were 180 kindergarten children. Before the criterion task, 60 were praised for their performance in executing a drawing task, 60 were criticized, and 60 were exposed to alternating praise and criticism. On the criterion task 1/3 of each group were praised, 1/3 criticized, and 1/3 neither praised nor criticized. Highest operant rates were maintained under criticism and lowest rates under the “no reinforcement” condition; the preceding reinforcement experiences had no effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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