Compliance, temptation, and conflicting instructions

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Examined compliance with prohibitive instructions persisting across time and situations. 88 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-grade males were initially placed in a temptation situation where instructional consistency, threat intensity, and experimenter surveillance were manipulated (Bender Gestalt Test for Young Children). 21-30 days later, instructional control was assessed in an ostensibly unrelated situation where an unfamiliar experimenter permitted Ss to emit the formerly forbidden behavior. Results show that the extension of prohibitive control across time was significantly reduced by contradictions between instruction-givers. Findings are interpreted in terms of an algebraic-summation model of discriminative functions combined with generalization. The crucial role of establishment of instructional control in the subsequent development of self-control is discussed. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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