James Madison University
Subject Listing - Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Sherry Serdikoff
Thursday, Poster Session 2, Presentation Kiosk 31 B, Health & Fitness Center
THE ROLE OF INSTRUCTIONS AND SELF-GENERATED RULES ON COLLEGE STUDENTS' PERFORMANCE ON A PROBABILITY MATCHING TASK
The present study examines probability matching, a type of non-optimal performance that occurs in certain choice situations. The extent to which probability matching is the result of self-generated rules consistent with a lifetime's history of seeking errorless performance on similar tasks is explored. Undergraduate students are presented with four 160-trial sessions of a repeated binary choice procedure where one alternative is reinforced on 75% of the trials and the other is reinforced on the remaining 25% of the trials. Each session is identical except for specific instructions given at the beginning: (1) no instructions (2) "The red circle will be correct 75% of the time and the blue circle will be correct the remaining 25% of the time," (3) "Obtaining 75% of the available points is considered a perfect score," and (4) "Points will be available on only 75% of the trials." Data show that the first three conditions tend to produce non-optimal responding consistent with probability matching. The extent to which the fourth condition leads to self-generated rules that allow individuals to achieve optimal performance is discussed.
Advisor: Dr. Sherry Serdikoff, Associate Professor, Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va