Factors Affecting Sequential Behavior in a Point-Earning Task
Prior research by Schwartz (1982) reveals that in a sequential behavior task known as partial reward 50% (PR50), college students show strong sequence stereotypy when instructed to earn points, and sequence variability when instructed to find rules governing why points are being generated. A study by Gross and Gutman (1988) reveals that PR50 subjects instructed to earn points behave much the same as subjects who are instructed to find rules. However, that study used a much smaller reward magnitude than Schwartz’s. The present results show that point-earning PR50 subjects act like rule finders regardless of the magnitude of reward. These findings cannot be explained by minor procedural differences, but may be explained by the explicit manner in which instructions are worded and/or social factors embedded in how the PR50 procedure is administered.
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