Effects of noncontingent reinforcement on tasks of differing importance: Facilitation and learned helplessness
Following the learned helplessness paradigm, the present study with 63 undergraduates assessed the hypothesized existence of a curvilinear relationship between experiences of no control and helpless behavior. Two factors thought to affect the impact of experiences with noncontingent reinforcement were investigated: the amount of helplessness training and the importance attributed to the training task. Helplessness training consisted of varying intensities of experience with noncontingent reinforcement on concept-formation-type problems in situations differing in perceived importance. Results demonstrate both facilitation and helplessness effects, and task importance and amount of training increased the likelihood of helplessness effects. Results are discussed in terms of possible qualifications of the effects of noncontingent reinforcement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1975 American Psychological Association.
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