Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Leroy Metze, James Craig, Elsie Dotson, David Shiek

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Nineteen first graders were placed in a four-choice situation which allowed investigation of the "Protestant ethic effect" (PEE). The S's task was to obtain tokens which could be traded for toys and candy. Tokens were available from any or all of the following quadrants (Q): (Q1) a location where the S was allowed the option to manipulate a toggle switch and/or obtain freely accessible tokens, (Q2) a location at which tokens were freely accessible, and (Q4) a work location in which the S received tokens contingent upon the operation of a toggle switch. A record of the number of tokens obtained at each of these choice locations revealed that Ss demonstrated a strong preference to obtain tokens at the work location (Q4), where 80% of all tokens were earned.

The number of manipulations of the switches was also recorded for each S. Ss had the option to manipulate two toggle switches at previously described quadrants (Q1) and (Q4) and at an additional location (Q3). Ninety-four percent of all manipulation of switches was performed at the work location. The Ss' preference to earn tokens by manipulation of toggle switches rather than obtain free tokens was explained in terms of "competency," an organism's need to actively control the environment.


Child Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences