Martin, Randall B.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Psychology
Schizophrenics; Reinforcement (Psychology); Conditioned response
The possibility of a "negative conditioning" hypothesis to account for the phenomena of performance deficit in chronic schizophrenics was investigated. According to this hypothesis, certain classes of the diagnostic group "schizophrenic" will not modify their behavior in order to obtain positive reinforcement, but rather are motivated by the avoidance or escape from aversive stimulation. Specifically, the first portion of this study replicated the work of Hurwitz (1968), with certain modifications to allow for the use of optimal conditioning procedures and subject selection. The "negative conditioning" hypothesis was supported by the obtained data and the second phase of the study attempted to establish a classically conditioned positive secondary reinforcer based on the termination of noxious stimulation. A weak, yet significant (p4.05) treatment effect was obtained for the conditioned Reward group only. Certain methological difficulties to account for the weak conditioning effect were noted, and the ramification of this hypothesis for the development of treatment programs for chronic schizophrenics was discussed.
Caulfield, Joseph B., "The use of classically conditioned secondary reinforcement with chronic schizophrenics" (1973). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 6368.
Northern Illinois University
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