Advertisement

The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 67–76 | Cite as

“I’ll do it when the snow melts”: The effects of deadlines and delayed outcomes on rule-governed behavior in preschool children

  • Cassandra Braam
  • Richard W. Malott
Article

Abstract

This study examined the control exerted by different types of rules on the behavior of preschool children. Four similar rules were presented to eight, four-year-old children, using a multielement design. The contingencies the rules described varied in the specification of deadlines and in the delays in the delivery of the reinforcers. The results showed (a) rules specifying only response requirements did not reliably control behavior, (b) rules specifying an immediate deadline with the immediate delivery of a reinforcer exerted reliable control, (c) rules specifying an immediate deadline with a one-week delay in the delivery of the reinforcer also exerted reliable control, and (d) rules specifying no deadline with a one-week delay in the delivery of the reinforcer exerted little control. These results suggest that a rule’s specification of a deadline is crucial in its control of behavior, but the delay of the reinforcer is of little importance. This latter conclusion further suggests that problems in self-control do not result from delayed outcomes or the inablity to delay gratification, contrary to conventional wisdom.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amabile, T. M., DeJong, W., & Lepper, M. R. (1976). Effects of imposed deadlines on subsequent intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 92–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baer, D. M., & Sherman, J. A. (1964). Reinforcement control of generalized imitation in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1, 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Deci, E. L. (1972). The effects of contingent and non-contingent rewards and controls on intrinsic motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 8, 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Keller, F. S. (1968). “Good-bye, teacher.” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 79–89.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Malott, R. W. (1984). Rule-governed behavior, self-management, and the developmentally disabled: A theoretical analysis. Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 4, 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Malott, R. W. (1986). Self-management, rule-governed behavior, and everyday life. In H. W. Reese, & L. J. Parrott (Eds.), Behavioral science: Philosophical, methodological, and empirical advances (pp. 207–228). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Malott, R. W. (1988). Rule-governed behavior and behavior anthropology. The Behavior Analyst, 11, 181–203.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Malott, R. W. (1989). The achievement of evasive goals controlled by rules describing contingencies that are not direct-acting. In S. C. Hayes (Ed.), Rule-governed behavior: Cognition, contingencies, and instructional control (pp. 269–322). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Malott, R. W., & Malott, M. E. (1990). Private events and rule-governed behavior. In L. J. Hayes, & P. N. Chase (Eds.), Dialogues on verbal behavior (pp. 237–254). Reno, NV: Context Press.Google Scholar
  10. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement. Englewood-Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  13. Welsh, T. M., Malott, R. W., & Kent, H. N. (1980). The use of behavioral contracting to eliminate procrastination in a PSI course. Journal of Personalized Instruction, 4, 103–104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassandra Braam
    • 1
  • Richard W. Malott
    • 2
  1. 1.New Medico Rehabilitation Center of WisconsinUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

Personalised recommendations