Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael Leibowitz

Second Advisor

Joseph LaVoie

Third Advisor

Sheldon Hendricks


The effectiveness of three differential reinforcement techniques, extinction of the old response with reinforcement for the new response versus extinction of the old response with double reinforcement for the new response versus continuation of reinforcement for the old response with double reinforcement for the new response, in reducing lever-pressing behavior, was studied, as a function of past reinforcement history and present schedule of reinforcement. Thirty children, with a mean age of 5 years 10 months, were reinforced for tapping the assigned key on either a differential reinforcement of low rates (drl 10"') or a differential reinforcement of high rates (VR 21 drh ^.5M) schedule of reinforcement. This training provided divergent reinforcement histories and a behavior to be reduced. The children were then reinforced for responding on the other key on a variable ratio (VR 32) schedule.

Findings indicated that divergent reinforcement histories can influence later responding. Although the three differential reinforcement techniques tended to have differing effects in reducing the old response, the differences were not significant.


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

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