Term of Award

Summer 1978

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Grover C. Richards

Committee Member 1

Paul R. Kleinginna, Jr.

Committee Member 2

Gary E. Dudley


Research comparing the effectiveness of descriptive praise, which specifies the behavior being praised, and general praise, which does not specify the specific behavior, has focused on nonretarded children. This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of the two praise conditions on the performance of 14 severely and profoundly retarded children on a spatial relationship task, seven children assigned to each of the praise conditions. The experiment consisted of four phases: baseline, treatment, extinction, and retraining. No significant difference was noted between the descriptive praise and general praise groups' responses under treatment conditions. When both praise groups were combined a significant difference was found between baseline conditions and treatment and between extinction and retraining.