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Sensitivity to cooperative and noncooperative contingencies: An experimental analysis of persistent rule-governed behavior
AdvisorHoumanfar, Ramona A
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Persistent rule governed behavior can be described as behavior that has come under the control of a particular rule, compromising contact with other contingencies in the environment. Researchers have looked at several factors that moderate insensitivity to programmed reinforcement, yet among these researchers, there are discrepancies related to the strength and direction these variables have in moderating rule following. This dissertation study used the modified Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (MD IRAP) to identify specific groups of individuals who were more likely to persist in rule following. Additionally, an experimental history of coherent rule following was built for each participant to demonstrate the effect coherent trials have on persistent rule following. Participants were identified as “high conformity” or “low conformity” based on D-IRAP scores and subsequently presented with two concurrent schedules of reinforcement in a simulated medical data entry task with a contrived partner. Motivational statements to cooperate with a partner, and neutral statements were both paired with reinforcement and extinction conditions in an alternating treatment design to measure cooperative responses. Results showed that coherent trials may make persistent rule following more likely for all participants. More specifically, higher number of participants in the high conformity group persisted in rule following in the neutral statement extinction condition than participants in the low conformity group. The implications of these findings are discussed as they contribute to the literature on persistent rule following and the predictive validity of the MD IRAP.