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This line of research led to numerous laboratory studies that resulted in a conditioning procedure whereby students were taught to prefer and to spend more free time with previously non-preferred episodic stimuli by stimulus-stimulus pairing procedures (Greer, Dorow, & Hanser, 1973; Greer, Dorow, & Randall, 1974; Greer, et al., 1973; Greer, Dorow, & Wolpert, 1980).
In the music conditioning studies and other conjugate reinforcement studies described above, the observing responses consisted of an assessment of listening that required the participants to maintain switch closures under laboratory free-operant conditions that resulted in measures of duration of selection or observation at the level of seconds.
In the present study, as in the music and toy conditioning studies (e.g., Greer, et al, 1973; Greer et al, 1985), the objective was to test the effects of certain stimuli on observing responses, not to identify possible reinforcers for other behaviors.
Consistent with both the laboratory and applied literature on conditioning stimuli as reinforcers for observing responses, our book conditioning procedure consisted of the following features (1) insuring the children were observing and selecting books during training, (2) presenting adult praise and treats while the children were looking at books or selecting books during training sessions (the pairing procedure), and
The objective of the experiment was to determine whether the conditioning of book stimuli as reinforcers for choosing and looking at books would function to accelerate the rate of learning textual responses to words (i.e., decrease the numbers of learn units required to mastery).
The experimenter video-recorded all sessions with a camcorder that burned the elapsed time on the tape, including all conditioning sessions, free play sessions, and sessions involving instruction in textual responses.
The dependent variable was the numbers of learn units required of each student to meet the mastery criterion before and after the conditioning procedure.
The independent variable was the achievement of criterion for reinforcement conditioning or the acquisition of book stimuli as conditioned reinforcement for observing books during five-minute free play sessions.
As a contact control condition, two children, one in each pair, received the same conditioning procedures with toys, as did his/her pair with the books.

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