Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Craig, Leroy Metze, Sam McFarland

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of the present research was two-fold- (1) to investigate competence, using the Protestant Ethic Effect (PEE) paradigm, in institutionalized, elderly subjects and (2) to determine the viability of an alternative task such as problem solving to motor tasks in the PEE situation. Two groups of patients, who differed in functioning level, performed a cognitive and a motor task in a situation with four response/reinforcement alternatives. Three dependent variables were used to evaluate subject's performance Analysis of tokens obtained in experimental situations indicated tow functioning patients, carrying out the cognitive task, preferred position-, where tokens were available without responding, while the higher functioning group obtained more tokens where reinforcement was contingent upon responding. Both groups showed a preference for obtaining tokens from the reinforcement contingent position during the motor task. In terms of responding at choice location, the data showed that all subjects, irrespective of classification, performed more responses at the reinforcement contingent position of the motor task than at a similar position of the cognitive task. Finally, results indicated more time was spent by all subjects around the position where reinforcement was contingent upon responding than any other experimental position.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Psychology Commons