Psy 443

For My Students | Admin/Research | PSY | CTL | WKU 

mouse holding paper An Exercise to Help You Understand Consequences


By completing this exercise you will develop a better understanding of the key terms:

And a sense of how the trainee feels under each circumstance.

Materials Needed

You will need to

The Game

There are 5 games, one corresponding to each of the types of consequences listed above. You will be shown two symbols and asked to click on the "correct" symbol and to avoid clicking on the "incorrect" symbol. Various consequences will follow from your choice.

The object is to earn credits or to avoid losing them, depending on the game you are working on. Credits earned are illusory and do not count toward course points. Everyone starts the game with 6 points. This represents that everyone brings a learning history to any behavioral intervention.

It is assumed, however, that the notion of credits will function as a positive reinforcer for you, that you will increase your effort in order to earn them and find it unpleasant when you lose them (negative punishment aka response cost).

Types of Feedback (aka Prompts, Cues, or Help)

You will may receive two types of feedback.

1. Correctness/Credits Earned

You may be correct or incorrect on a given choice. Sometimes you may earn or lose points. A pop-up box will tell you which has happened. This feedback reveals the context for each game.

For example, if you click on the darker cross below, you'll get a popup box that says it is worth 2 credits. Go ahead and try it. Click "ok" to close it.

dark blue cross light blue cross

If you click on the light blue cross, the popup box will say it is Incorrect. To win the game you would try to figure out what quality provides the credits or avoids losing them. (In this case, the darker shade is worth 2 credits). To win the total exercise you will understand how the rules for correctness, credits and various other consequences relate to the name of the game.

Record your correctness and your credits earned after each item so you can look back and see how you perform in each of the conditions. Also record your perceptions of what it was like to learn under that particular condition.

Role of Correctness/Credit Feedback: The correctness/credits in the "game world" is analogous to "natural consequences" in the real world. In life, any particular behavior has consequences that follow automatically. Natural consequences are an inevitable part of doing the behavior. If you inhale, your lungs experience the air surrounding you. If you bend over, your muscles stretch and feel good (or worse depending on your physical condition). If you eat something, your hunger pains will abate.

For the purposes of this exercise, aka within the "world of the game," the correctness/credits are considered to be a natural consequence of making a choice. Degree of correctness follows choice as stretched muscles follow bending. Credits earned or lost are basically natural consequences as well. It is common for a particular behavior to have multiple natural consequences (e.g., if you drink to excess you have a headache, feel nauseated, have blackouts, feel a buzz, etc.)

In a real world behavioral intervention you will have to consider the role of natural consequences. In some behaviors, such as drug abuse, natural consequences are very important. In other behaviors (as in this game) they typically play a minor role, easily overruled by the therapist created interventions.

Click here to learn about the second type of feedback you might receive.

Psy 443
For My Students | Admin/Research | PSY | CTL | WKU 

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Website created: June 1996. Page Created: May 29, 2000. Last Modified: September 28, 2000.