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The reinforcing effects of making sense : positive, negative or both


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13181

The reinforcing effects of making sense : positive, negative or both

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Title: The reinforcing effects of making sense : positive, negative or both
Author: Wray, Alisha
Advisor(s): Dougher, Michael
Committee Member(s): Perkins, Rick
Matthews, Dan
Smith, Bruce
Yeater, Elizabeth
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Psychology
Subject: making sense
making meaning
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
LC Subject(s): Sense of coherence.
Meaning (Psychology)
Reinforcement (Psychology)
Acceptance and commitment therapy.
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: Many researchers have devoted attention to the human tendency to find coherence or make sense of events in the environment. Until recently, however, there was no direct empirical evidence that making sense could function as a reinforcer. Wray, Dougher, and Bullard (2008) provided preliminary evidence that solvable conditions are preferred over unsolvable conditions indicating that making sense is reinforcing. Results from the current study replicate these findings with two additional behavioral measures. Results further indicate that both solvable and neutral conditions are preferable to unsolvable conditions. However, results show there is little difference in preference for solvable over neutral conditions. All findings held across both concurrent and forced choice procedures. Results suggest that avoiding conditions that cannot be solved is negatively reinforcing, and that, for some participants, engaging in sense-making is positively reinforcing. This evidence suggests that it may be useful to define making sense functionally, as two distinct behaviors, according to whether it is being maintained by positive versus negative reinforcement.
Graduation Date: July 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13181

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