An Experimental Investigation Of Positive Practice Overcorrection

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The major purpose of these studies was to identify and evaluate operative parameters and mechanisms of positive practice overcorrection. This was done in four separate studies.;Experiment 1 examined the parameter of positive practice duration by comparing a 3 minute procedure with a 30 second procedure in a combined multiple baseline and an 'alternating treatments' design. Five retarded children were trained on two tasks--one of which was associated with the long positive practice procedure and the other with the short positive practice. Except for the parameter of treatment duration, both procedures were identical. Positive practice was contingent on non-compliance. All subjects showed similar rates of acquisition of the correct task response and reduction in the rates of non-compliance. There were no appreciable differences in these rates across long or short positive practice. However, short positive practice achieved these beneficial effects with approximately one-fifth of the amount of session time used by the long positive practice procedure spent engaged in positive practice activity. In addition, fewer negative side-effects were observed with short positive practice.;Experiment 2 assessed the effects of a non-contingent positive practice procedure by comparing it to an identical contingent procedure in a combined multiple baseline and alternating treatments design. Five retarded children were trained on two tasks--one was contingent on non-compliance while the other task was associated with non-contingent positive practice. The contingent procedure proved to be superior to the non-contingent procedure in facilitating acquisition of appropriate responses and in reducing the rates of non-compliance. More negative side-effects were also observed during training with the non-contingent positive practice.;The third experiment was designed to evaluate the mechanism through which novel, appropriate responses, repeated during positive practice, come to be performed at high rates during the rest of the session. Five retarded children were trained to press a 'telegraph key' in order to avoid performing a task that had not been associated with any explicit positive reinforcement. Failure to press the key resulted in a 'guided practice' procedure, forcing the subject to perform the task. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of school.) UMI

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