Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Norman H. Hamm

Second Advisor

Joseph LaVoie

Third Advisor

Robert L. Ackerman


The effects of two classes of verbal reinforcers, correctness and social, were examined among 108 second-, fifth-, and eighthgrade, middle-class children. The effectiveness of verbal reinforcement. was measured by a change in the S's response preference on a marble-sorting task. Results of the study were (a) that there were no initial age differences in the magnitude or direction of the baserate responses, (b) that correctness reinforcement was more rewarding across all levels of age than social approval, (c) that for eighth-grade Ss, correctness reinforcers were significantly more rewarding than either social or no reinforcement, and (d) that a post hoc analysis on sex of S revealed a differential sex effect for the social reinforcement condition, but not for the correctness treatment. The results of this experiment support the notion that, as a child grows older, a change takes place in the strength in effectiveness of correctness reinforcers.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts.

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