Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The present study was designed to show that reinforcing a loss of' body weight relative to a previous measurement would affect an increase in the frequency of' trials during which a weight loss was observed. Volunteer females who reported problematic eating leading to overweight served as Ss. Baseline data were collected indicating each S's daily body weight and the median amount of daily body weight change across baseline. Ss were then reinforced for any daily weight loss which exceeded this median value. An extinction period followed during which no reinforcement followed a weight loss. The data failed to indicate either a reduction of body weight or an increased rate of trials during which a weight loss was observed. It was suspected that too large of a weight :ioss ~as required for reinforcement, preventing successful conditioning. A second experiment was conducted during which any daily weight loss, regardless of its magnitude, was reinforced. The results did not appreciably differ from those of the first experiment.

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Psychology Commons