Names as Reinforcers: The Social Value of Verbal Stimuli.
HAWAII UNIV HONOLULU DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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In a test of the A-R-D theory, an experiment was conducted to investigate the reinforcing function of names of people. Under a cover story of measuring the subjects emotional responses to verbal stimuli, she was presented with positive or neutral names following one of two responses and neutral words following the other response. The results showed that in comparison to control subjects, experimental subjects increased the frequency of emission of the response followed by positive names. Moreover, the results showed that the post-experimental ratings of the names and words by the experimental subjects were consistent with the conditioning data. Finally, analyses of the post-experimental questionnaire indicated that the experimental procedures largely were effective in preventing awareness and suspicion. Previous studies have shown the attitudinal and discriminative functions of names of people. The present findings of the reinforcing function of names provide empirical support to the three stimulus functions proposed in the A-R-D theory, and suggests the importance of these functions in social interaction. Author