Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Woodruff, Arnold Bond, 1920-||Pielstick, Norval L.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Behaviorism (Psychology); Child development; Adjustment (Psychology); Child psychology


Exploratory behavior in animals and human beings has generated a substantial amount of research and theoretical interest. The theoretical framework suggested by Glanzer lends helpful interpretation to this phenomenon as it can be applied to human beings as well as animals. Briefly, this position maintains that exploratory behavior is elicited by novel stimuli and retarded by the effects of stimulus satiation. A stimulus is regarded as "novel" to the degree that it is unrelated to the organism's previous experience, i.e., it has not been previously explored. As exploration takes place, the organism becomes satiated to the previously novel stimuli and activity gradually subsides. Exploratory behavior persists longest where novel stimuli are complex. Though there are consistant findings that the stimulus variables of novelty and complexity elicit exploratory behavior, there is no study that had dealt with extraneous novel stimuli as potentially distracting variables in the experimental situation. The purpose of this experiment was to test for this possibility by giving grade school children opportunity to gain familiarity with the experimenter and the experimental situation.. In the present study this was accomplished through the use of three-day adaptation periods with the experimenter and the experimental situation prior to the time exploratory behavior was measured. It was found that the children who were adapted to the experimental situation were significantly more responsive to the stimuli employed to measure exploration than were those who were not adapted, but adaptation to the experimenter exerted no differential effect.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


61 pages




Northern Illinois University

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