THE EFFECTS OF REINFORCEMENT ON THE TEST PERFORMANCE OF SEVERELY AND PROFOUNDLY RETARDED CHILDREN

LAWRENCE EDWARD HALLER, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study investigated the effects of response contingent reinforcement on the mental test performance of 50 severely and profoundly retarded children ages 10 to 14 years, residing in the New York City area. Twenty-three male and 17 females took part in the study.^ Subjects were randomly assigned to the experimental or control group following a posttest only design. Control subjects were evaluated with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development Mental Scale administered according to the examiner's manual. Experimental subjects received individually selected reinforcements after each correct test response. The Reinforcement Survey Hierarchy was used to determine high preference reinforcers. Measures of adaptive behavior were obtained for each subject, from Scales I, II, IV, VIII and X of the AAMD Adaptive Behavior Scale.^ Analyses of variance were conducted on experimental and control group Mental Age (MA) and ceiling scores. These results proved nonsignificant. Ambulatory subjects, however, were found to have significantly higher Mental Age and ceiling scores than nonambulatory subjects. No significant treatment by ambulation interaction was found. Correlations of the experimental group's MA and adaptive behavior scores were significant at the .001 level. Correlations of control group MA and Independent Functioning, Physical Development, and Language Development scores were significant at the .001 level. Correlations of the control group's MA and Self-Direction and Socialization scores were not significant.^ Correlations of the ambulatory subjects' MAs and adaptive behavior scores were significant at the .001 level. Correlations of the nonambulatory subjects' MAs and Socialization scores were significant at the .01 level; the correlation of MA and the Language Development score was significant at the .05 level; the correlations of MA with the other scales were not significant. Between-group comparisons were made of the correlations of MA and adaptive behavior. Significant differences were found between experimental and control groups' correlations of MA and Language Development, Self-Direction, and Socialization scores. Significant differences were found between ambulatory subjects' correlations of MA and Physical Development and Socialization scores. No significant differences were found between the nonambulatory subjects' correlations of MA and adaptive behavior scores. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.) ^

Subject Area

Quantitative psychology

Recommended Citation

HALLER, LAWRENCE EDWARD, "THE EFFECTS OF REINFORCEMENT ON THE TEST PERFORMANCE OF SEVERELY AND PROFOUNDLY RETARDED CHILDREN" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8624485.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624485

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