Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Craig, Leroy Metze, Harry Robe

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In the past decade researchers have demonstrated that organisms do not always perform according to Hull's "law of less work" (Hull, 1943). In certain situations, some Ss prefer to perform an operant (e.g., bar press) rather than freeload to receive reinforcement (e.g., food). Though it can be argued that this is not behavior typical of all Ss (Taylor, 1972), lack of generality is not the point. As Metze and Craig (1973) point out, data from deviant individual Ss may prove to be the most interesting.

There are two research objectives for the present study. First, an attempt was made to replicate the findings of Jensen (1963) ond others (e.g., Neuringer, 1969: and Carder and Berkowitz, 1970). They found that a number of the Ss studied preferred to work for reinforcement rather than receive it free. Therefore, it was expected that when given the choice, Ss would prefer to earn the food they consumed rather than freeload. Second, an attempt was made to investigate the effect of stress on the behavior of Ss who preferred to work. Incidental observations in the laboratory would suggest that the preference for work would be depressed and an increase in freeloading would be observed upon the introduction of stress into the situation.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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