The effects of continuous and partial reward on the vigilance task performance of adults with attentional deficits: A pilot investigation

David L. Lee, Sydney S. Zentall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of reward schedule (100% and 30%) and extinction on attention (reaction time to auditory stimuli) and frustration levels (pressure exerted on a response key) of 15 adults with attentional disorders and 21 normal adults were examined using a continuous performance task. We predicted, based on Douglas and Parry ((1994). Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 22, 281), that adults with attentional deficits would (a) perform similar to comparisons when rewarded on a continuous schedule, (b) exhibit higher levels of frustration when that continuous schedule was moved to an extinction schedule, and (c) experience more frustration than comparisons when rewarded on a partial schedule. Overall, adults with attentional deficits were slower to respond and their responses were more variable than typical comparisons across trials, similar to what is observed for children. Continuous reward resulted in poorer performance earlier in the reward phase and continued throughout an extinction phase. The frustration levels of adults with attentional deficits did not differ from comparisons across schedule conditions. Results are discussed in terms of the role of arousal in mediating responding to various schedules of reward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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