Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 443–453 | Cite as

Discrimination learning of delinquent boys as a function of reinforcement contingency and delinquent subtype

  • James A. MosesJr.
  • Richard G. Ratliff
  • Anne R. Ratliff
Article

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of contingency management as a means of behavioral resocialization with delinquent boys on an individual basis. The present study was designed to examine and clarify systematically the reinforcement parameters that underlie the male delinquent's response to verbal and token reward and/or punishment. The principal findings of the study were: (1) Neurotic subjects performed at the highest level for punishment, at the lowest level for reward, and at an intermediate level for a combination of reward and punishment, regardless of verbal or token contingency modality. (2) Psychopathic subjects performed best for the joint verbal reward and punishment contingency, but they did not learn over trials for the joint token reward and punishment contingency. Their performance was undifferentiated at asymptote under the separate verbal and token reward or punishment contingencies. (3) Neurotic subjects performed at a significantly higher level than did psychopathic subjects for verbal and token punishment, while psychopathic subjects performed at a significantly higher level than neutric subjects for verbal and token reward.

Keywords

Intermediate Level Individual Basis Discrimination Learning Contingency Management Token Contingency 

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Reference note

  1. 1.
    Ratliff, R. G., Shoulders, D. I., & Ratliff, A. R.Delay of reinforcement and two-choice discrimination learning in delinquent and nondeliquent boys. Unpublished manuscript, 1976.Google Scholar

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. MosesJr.
    • 1
  • Richard G. Ratliff
    • 2
  • Anne R. Ratliff
    • 3
  1. 1.Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.University of ColoradoUSA
  3. 3.Boulder

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