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Perception of leadership status in a free operant group discussion situation as a function of the knowledge of reinforcement contingency

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Title:Perception of leadership status in a free operant group discussion situation as a function of the knowledge of reinforcement contingency
Authors:Khemka, Kailash Chandra
Keywords:Operant conditioning
Verbal behavior
Date Issued:1967
Abstract:Operant conditioning techniques have been successfully used for altering the sociometric structure of small face-to-face groups by increasing the verbal output of a single group member. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of giving some of the group members information about the manipulated increase in the verbal output of the target person (TP), upon their perception of his sociometric status within the group. The Ss were divided into 18 seven-person groups. Each seven-person group consisted of a four-person discussion group which was given three human relations problems to discuss, and three independent observers who listened to these discussions from three other rooms. After each discussion, all seven Ss ranked the discussion group members on a brief sociometric questionnaire. On the basis of the ranks given by the group members to themselves after the operant session, the second-or third-ranking person was randomly chosen as the TP. During the acquisition session, green and red lights were used as reinforcers and were described as signifying the Ss' having made a contribution to, or interfering with, the group processes, as judged by a panel of experts monitoring the conversation from the next room. The E, however, gave the TP a green light every time he talked and a red light whenever he remained silent for more than 30 seconds. The other group members were given red lights every time they talked and green lights when they either remained silent or expressed agreement with TP. One group member and one observer were informed of the true reinforcement contingency before the beginning of the acquisition session and, in addition to this the observer was led to believe that he was operating the light through his control box.(a dummy). At the end of the acquisition session, but before doing the ranking the second time, another group member was told about the true reinforcement-contingency. For the extinction session lights were not used. However, another observer was told to operate the lights during this session through another dummy control box. Analyses of variance made on the data for the frequency and total time of talking by the group members showed that the reinforcement . technique significantly increased Top's verbal output. The sociometric ranking data were analyzed in a series of analyses of variance. The results showed that all the Ss gave higher ranks to TP after the acquisition session than after the operant session. After the extinction session, TP's. ranks were lower than for the acquisition session, but remained higher than they were for the operant session. It was concluded that neither the knowledge of the external causation of behavior change nor the deliberate manipulation of the individual has any effect on the perception and evaluation of the behavior change, and thus these results do not support the Heider-Hastorf position.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii, 1967.
Bibliography: leaves [85]-88.
viii, 88 l tables
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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