Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
When an organism is allowed to choose "between working for food or receiving "free" food, what will its decision "be? For years such a question would have been addressed within the framework proposed by Clark Hull (1943): the organism would choose the alternative requiring the least amount of effort and eat the free food. However, several recent investigations have cast doubt on the generality of this lav: of least effort. Typically these studies have involved training organisms to respond for a reinforcer, defined as a stimulus that increases the probability of a response (Hilgard ?z Bower, 1966), and subsequently allowing them to choose between continuing to respond or obtaining the same reinforcer from a free supply. A majority of these experiments have reported that tinder ceDrtain conditions organisms continue to "work" for reinforcement rather than "freeload." As a result of these observations, the labels "contrafreeloading" (Taylor, 1972) and "Protestant ethic effect" (Singh, 1972; Metze & Craig, 1973) have been applied to this phenomenon. The general aim of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of this behavior through a review of relevant literature and through experimental investigation of heretofore unresearched variables.
Stephens, Ronald, "The Protestant Ethic Effect: A Multiple Dependent Variable Analysis" (1973). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 1010.