Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 1972

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

James G. Green

Second Committee Member

Terry L. DeVietti

Third Committee Member

Colin D. Condit


A 20 year old, male, sophomore college student, who was considered an underachiever, was confined to a laboratory study room for a specified number of observed hours during a period of three weeks. An attempt was made to operantly condition increased study behaviors by the E's control of study break reinforcers. The experiment consisted of three phases, conditioning, reversal, and reconditioning. Statistical results showed that when reinforced in this manner for study behaviors, the S significantly increased his amount of study time and number of pages read. It was concluded that (1) operant conditioning procedures could be used successfully to make short-term improvements in study habits, (2) long study breaks of free time following long study sessions have been effective as reinforcers, (3) such reinforcement techniques required the cooperation of the S and a willingness to be confined, and (4) it would be inappropriate to generalize the results of this one S much beyond the scope of this study.