THE EFFECTS OF VARIABLE‐INTERVAL REINFORCEMENT ON ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT: A DEMONSTRATION OF MATCHING THEORY

Brian K. Martens, David G. Lochner, Susan Q. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

The single‐alternative form of the matching law has enjoyed extensive support in laboratory research with both animals and humans. However, few data exist concerning its validity as a description of behavior in applied settings. In Experiment 1, 2 fourth‐grade students were exposed to variable‐interval schedules of social reinforcement contingent on academic engagement. The data for each subject were then plotted via Herrnstein's equation. The results showed Herrnstein's equation to account for 99.1% and 87.6% of the variance in student engagement, respectively. In Experiment 2, control over student engagement by two of the reinforcement schedules was examined further within an alternating treatments design with similar results. The implications of these findings for linking experimental and applied behavior analysis are discussed. 1992 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

Keywords

  • academic behavior
  • matching theory
  • variable‐interval reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy

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