Conditioning Precurrent (Problem Solving) Behavior of Children

Joseph A. Parsons


Five normal preschool clildren were presented wit a symbol.counting task designed te require responses which altered te problem so as te enable reliable solutions. Continuous reittforcement (praise + exclangeable token) of correct solutions for 5 te 10 sessiens (baseline) did not affect development of precurrent altering behaviors or improved solution performance. Training procedures whicl directly reinforced (praise) precurrent responses were effective itt increasing precurrent behaviors aid tIc accuracy of solution responses. Once conditioned, precurrent belaviors and accurate solutions were maintained wlen only te solutien —contingent reinforcement was provided— a return te baseline contingencies. Subsequent removal of solution-centingent reinforcement for 4 subjects decreased performance of 2 dhildren, but liad no effect en tIc perfonnance of 2 otler dhlldren. Next, instructions prolibiting overt emission of precurrent responses were added te the baseline contingencies for aM subjects. Prohibition instructions decreased precurrent responses to zero and decreased accuracy of solutions in ah children. The consistent performance of precurrent behaviors wlicl was disrupted during prolibition and tle higl accuracy of solutions wlicl declined during extinctien and prohibition were recovered when subjects were returned te baseline contingencies.

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802