Instructional Influence on Human Performance: Insensitivity to Contingencies
Interim rept. 1 Sep 1979-31 Aug 1980
MARYLAND UNIV BALTIMORE COUNTY CATONSVILLE DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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To the extent that behavior is under the influence of instructions, it is insensitive to other consequences of the behavior. This phenomenon, termed instructionally-induced insensitivity, was investigated with monetary reinforcement for button-pressing by undergraduates. The data suggest that insensitivity is independent of response rate, and may occur despite contact with contingencies, although precluding contingency-contact may delay the development of sensitivity. Instructions that the task involved problem-solving did not necessarily induce insensitivity. Attempts at using multiple schedules suggested the role of verbal behavior even when responding was uninstructed. When subjects were required to make written guesses of the contingencies, accurate written reports usually preceded contingency-sensitive button-pressing, but contingency-insensitive button-pressing often persisted even after written reports were accurate.
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