Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Donald Ashley

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Sid Hellyer

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Josephine Naidoo

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Forty-eight male and 48 female grade 12 high school students were assigned in groups of 8 to a 2 (sex of S X 3 (treatment) X 2 (sex of E) factorial design experiment. Each S was presented with a finger maze task under one of three experimental treatments: censure-nothing with S being told “WRONG” for an incorrect response, nothing for a correct response; reward-nothing, with S being told “CORRECT” for a correct response, nothing for an incorrect response; nothing-nothing, with Ss being told nothing for either a correct or incorrect response. The task required that a binary decision be made at each choice point, thereby providing complete information on S’s performance under all experimental conditions. Each S also learned a second maze under nothing-nothing conditions to test possible transfer effects of the affective component of the reinforcement previously received.

O’Brien’s (1963) informational hypothesis which states that information is the important variable in social reinforcement, was tested utilizing a task which intrinsically provided complete information and permitted testing of interaction effects of sex of S, treatment and sex of E.

The results are consistent with O’Brien’s informational hypothesis as no significant main effect differences were obtained. However, under the first phase the sex of E, sex of S, treatment interaction was significant both for trails to criterion (F=6.42, df=2/84, p

The obtained results indicate that information is an important variable in social reinforcement, but there is also a definite effect of sex of E, sex of S, and treatment which may be of greater importance.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season