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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70315 Find in a Library
Title: Discrimination Learning of Delinquent Boys as a Function of Reinforcement Contingency and Delinquent Subtype
Journal: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(1979)  Pages:443-453
Author(s): J A Moses; R G Ratliff; A R Ratliff
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This Colorado study was designed to examine and clarify systematically the reinforcement parameters that underlie the male delinquent's response to verbal and token reward and punishment.
Abstract: Ninety-six male delinquents were selected from the populations at two Colorado State schools for delinquents. The sample comprised 48 psychopathic and 48 neurotic delinquents who were categorized by self-report and behavior ratings made by their supervisors according to an approach using factor-analytically derived measures in combination. Subjects were sampled from the (institution-established) lower socialization groups for the psychopathic sample and from the higher socialization group for the neurotic sample. The apparatus was a modified wooden construction of the Wisconsin General Test Apparatus. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of six experimental reward or punishment contingencies. The contingencies were verbal reward ('right'), verbal punishment ('wrong'), verbal reward with verbal punishment, token reward (earn a chip), response cost (lose a chip), and token reward with response cost. The principal study findings were that 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 contingency modality; and psychopathic subjects performed best for the joint verbal reward and punishment contigency. This delinquency typology system is useful as a means of delinquent subgroup categorization for treatment program planning. Footnotes, 16 references, and 2 tables are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Behavior typologies; Colorado; Male juvenile delinquents; Psychological evaluation; Testing and measurement
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