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Reinforcement Effects On Three Measures Of Children's Interest In Math

Ross Vasta, Louise A. Stirpe

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The effects of contingent reward on children's interest in an academic activity (math) were investigated in a token economy analog. Three measures of interest were examined using an A-B—a design: (1) amount of the activity produced, (2) quality of the activity produced, and (3) time spent engaging in the activity. Reward was delivered contingent upon the first of these measures. Experimental subjects were exposed to baseline, reinforcement, baseline, and follow-up conditions. A control group received baseline procedures throughout. No evidence of substantial undermining of interest occurred on any measure, although two subjects displayed an immediate, transient decrease in postreward performance.