Situational and historical determinants of self-reinforcement

Paul Karoly, Frederick H. Kanfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Magnitude of self-reinforcement (SR+) and self-punishment, (SR-) was investigated in a pseudoperceptual task as a function of both the pattern (variable or consistent) of previous external reinforcement and the direction of current, nonspecific feedback (e.g., "You're getting better" or "You're getting worse"). Working from a model which assumes SR to be based on an individual's discrimination of the discrepancy between current performance and a pre-set standard, it was hypothesized that a standard (50% accuracy) established under consistent prior performances would produce greater magnitude SR+ (with current increments in performance) and SR- (with current performance decrements) than would the identical standard derived from a variable prior pattern of reward. A trials effect was also expected. Results confirmed the hypotheses. Implications for behavior change via self-evaluative and self-reinforcement techniques are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-390
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1974
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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