Date of Award

1970

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Bringman, W.

Keywords

Psychology, Experimental.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study was concerned with the actual versus imagined fear stimuli in the behavior modification of fear of laboratory rats by covert reinforcement. It was predicted that (a) both treatment groups would exhibit greater fear reduction than the control group for which no predictions were made; (b) both treatment groups would exhibit greater fear reduction than the control group; (c) that the treatment group presented with the actual fear stimulus would reveal greater reductions in fear than the treatment group presented with the fear stimulus in imagination; (d) that transfer of training would occur in a substantially altered environment. Forty-five student nurses from Boston College were assigned to the two treatment and one control groups. Baseline data on three behavioral measures (approach, stroke, hold), and two self-report measures (fear intensity scale; fear survey schedule) were obtained before all subjects were trained in covert reinforcement. During the experimental stage, one treatment group was presented the actual fear stimulus paired with covert reinforcement, the second treatment group was presented with the fear stimulus in imagination; the control group talked about rats. All measures were repeated after experimental sessions, and again in the transfer setting. The main findings were (a) both treatment groups did exhibit significantly greater reductions in fear while the control group showed no changes; (b) both treatment groups did reveal significantly greater fear reductions than the control group; (c) the group presented with the actual fear stimulus had significantly greater fear reductions than the group presented with the fear stimulus in imagination; (d) transfer of training did occur. These results were consistent with previously reported behavior modification research. The implications for future research were discussed. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 62-10, Section: B, page: 4822. Adviser: Wolfgang Bringman. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1970.

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