Hullian psychology conceptualizes the effects of noxious stimulation as drive producing and the effects of removal of such stimulation as a rewarding state of affairs (3). These effects have been repeatedly demonstrated in situations where they have facilitated learning (2, 4). It is obvious, however, that increased drive need not necessarily aid learning, and it may at times hinder it. The present study is concerned with the consequences for learning when electric shock is introduced at the same time as the stimulus word and is removed when the response word is spoken in paired-associate learning. The study is particularly interested in investigating some of the phenomena recently reported by Alper (1). Alper has found that while rate of verbal learning is not faster in more motivated subjects, the retention after a twenty-four hour period is greater than for less motivated subjects. (She increased motivation by means of verbal instruction. Subjects were told the task was related to intelligence; this, she claims, constituted an "ego threat.'') The effect of increased drive on both learning rate and amount of retention is considered by the research about to be reported.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1950 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
"Effect of Shock on Performance in a Paired-associate Learning Task,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 57(1), 429-433.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol57/iss1/59