Revista mexicana de análisis de la conducta
versão impressa ISSN 0185-4534
PULIDO, Marco A. et al. The Operant Conditioning of Letter String Problem Solving. Rev. mex. anál. conducta [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.3, pp. 55-76. ISSN 0185-4534. http://dx.doi.org/10.5514/rmac.v36.i3.04.
The major purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of practice and reinforcement on letter string problem solving. College students were exposed to printed letter string problems. In the first experiment correct answers could be reinforced, punished, ignored, randomly reinforced or presented without a previous example. Data showed punishment significantly decreased the number of correct answers produced by the subjects; additionally practice significantly increased the number of correct answers in one reinforced condition and lowered the number of correct answers in the punishment group. A second experiment assessed behavioral momentum theory in the solution of letter string problems. Subjects were reinforced for producing a determined answer during 12 consecutive problems; subsequently the answer selected for reinforcement changed. Results showed the probability of producing a correct answer significantly decreased when reinforcement contingencies changed. Data from both experiments suggest that approaching letter string problem solving from an operant, rather than cognitive perspective, could allow a better understanding and control of the phenomenon.
Palavras-chave : Letter string problem solving; reinforcement; practice; behavioral momentum; college students.