Freedom of choice and behavioral change

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Abstract

Used a 3 × 2 (Treatment × Population) factorial design with repeated measures (pretest/posttest) to evaluate the effects of perceived freedom of choice on behavior change in a therapy analog study. 90 Ss were assigned to 3 groups that varied in the amount of perceived choice given to Ss in determining the type of training procedure used for speed-reading enhancement. Experimental conditions were crossed with 2 populations of Ss to examine 2 levels of perceived freedom. Half of the Ss were psychology undergraduates required to participate in psychology experiments, and the remaining half were volunteers. The main dependent variable was the amount of change in reading rate. A marginally significant increase in reading speed was obtained by volunteers in comparison to psychology student participants. Ss who perceived that they were given a choice in training procedures improved significantly more in reading speed than Ss who lost the freedom of choice. No changes in reading comprehension were noted. Findings are discussed in terms of the relationship between freedom of choice and performance in a behavior change program. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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