Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Vernon Schaefer

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Sid Hellyer

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Donald Morgenson

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Previous verbal conditioning experiments were reviewed for the purpose of discovering variables which may be relevant to therapeutic interviews.

An experiment was conducted which tested the idea that the semantic content of statements made by the interviewer may function as a cue or instruction for the subject to verbalize material of related content. Group and individual psychotherapy patients were used as subjects. Subjects were given instructions which either stressed or ignored the importance of cooperating with the interviewer. Interviewers interacted with subjects either by reflecting the affective content of the subjects’ narrative or by making mild interpretive statements of non-affective content. The critical response class consisted of self-referred affect words. Interventions were not made contingent on the production of critical responses. Post-interview questions assessed the subjects’ Reinforcement Hypotheses, Behavioural Hypotheses, and Behavioural Intentions.

It was found that the introduction of material of affective content resulted in higher rates of affective verbalization. Instruction had no effect on production of critical responses. There appears to be a relatively complex relationship between awareness and behaviour. Possible implications for clinical interviewing are discussed.

Convocation Year