Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lovejoy, M. Christine

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Obedience--Psychological aspects; Children and adults--Psychological aspects; Children--Conduct of life


The primary purpose of this research was to develop a measure of adult accuracy in discriminating between compliance and noncompliance in children. This measure, called the Discrimination of Child Compliance Test (DCCT), provides a standardized procedure for examining adult perceptions that occur in the earlier stages of processing, decoding and interpreting information. A second purpose for this research was to demonstrate that Signal Detection Theory (SDT) is a viable means of assessing adults' perceptions of children. Three studies were conducted to examine the reliability and validity of the DCCT. Study 1 found that the DCCT did not have adequate alternate form reliability and did not correlate with the three individual difference measures used. A rating study confirmed that the two forms of the DCCT were not equivalent due to the fact that one of the forms contained items that described more aversive child behaviors. The DCCT was subsequently revised to correct this discrepancy. Study 2 demonstrated that a simple training procedure was effective in improving adults' accuracy in identifying child compliance, but did not appear to have an effect on the detection of noncompliant behavior. Study 3 found that contextual information did not affect the criterion participants selected to identify compliant behaviors, but it did appear to have an effect on the accuracy of identifying noncompliant behavior. Implications for clinical use and the impact on the understanding of social information processing models is discussed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [69]-77)


vi, 120 pages




Northern Illinois University

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