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Theses Doctoral

The Identification and Establishment of Reinforcement for Collaboration in Elementary Students

Darcy, Laura Elizabeth

In Experiment 1, I conducted a functional analysis of student rate of learning with and without a peer-yoked contingency for 12 students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade in order to determine if they had conditioned reinforcement for collaboration. Using an ABAB reversal design, I compared rate of learning as measured by learn units to criterion under two conditions: (A) rotated learn units between 2 peers with a peer-yoked contingency game board (collaborative reinforcement), and (B) rotated learn units between 2 peers without a peer-yoked contingency game board (individual reinforcement). In these conditions, 2 students sat side by side and learn units were delivered in a rotated fashion. A peer-yoked contingency game board in which two characters competed to reach the top and access a predetermined backup reinforcer was present in the (A) condition only. The participants were yoked together on a “team,” and if they emitted a correct response, their character moved up on the game board. Seven of twelve participants learned faster in the collaborative reinforcement condition, suggesting that they each had reinforcement for collaboration with a peer. These data demonstrated how yoked contingencies can be utilized to increase rate of learning in the classroom when reinforcement for collaboration is present. The other participants learned slower in the collaborative reinforcement condition, suggesting that reinforcement for collaboration was not present for these participants. Additionally, participants who demonstrated reinforcement for collaboration emitted higher levels of vocal verbal operants when yoked with a peer than the participants who did not demonstrate reinforcement for collaboration. In Experiment 2, the participants who did not demonstrate reinforcement for collaboration were placed into a collaborative intervention, in order to determine if this potential developmental cusp could be established. In a delayed multiple probe design across dyads, four participants engaged in peer tutoring with a confederate peer, and a yoked contingency game board was utilized to reinforce their effective collaboration. Following this intervention, all four participants demonstrated a faster rate of learning when yoked with a peer, as well as increased levels of vocal verbal operants with their peers. These findings suggest that an intervention that specifically targets reinforcement for collaboration through a peer-yoked contingency may be effective in inducing reinforcement for collaboration. The educational significance and implications of this potential developmental cusp are discussed.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Greer, R. Douglas
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 20, 2017
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