College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The Effects of Stating Contingency-Specifying Stimuli on Compliance in Children

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1999

Publication Title

Analysis of Verbal Behavior

ISSN

0889-9401

Volume

16

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

The present investigation examined whether distinguishing between the discriminative and function-altering properties of contingency-specifying stimuli (CSS) is of heuristic value in conceptualizing child compliance. Groups of “compliant” and “noncompliant” children were instructed to place several blocks in a box. During half of the trials the children had an immediate opportunity to respond to the instruction (IOR), and during the other trials the children's opportunity to respond was delayed by 10 min (DOR). Results showed that 5 of the 8 children were more likely to comply in the IOR condition, whereas the 3 remaining children were equally compliant in IOR and DOR conditions. In addition, the study investigated the influence of condition presentation sequence on child compliance. Thus, half of the children entered the IOR condition first, and the other half entered the DOR condition first. Results showed no differences in compliance for 3 of 4 children in the IOR-first sequence. However, in the DOR-first sequence, all children, regardless of classification, were more compliant in IOR than in DOR conditions. Presentation order appeared to strongly influence compliance and could likely have affected the results of prior investigations.

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