Date of Award

8-2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Christopher Skinner

Committee Members

Robert Williams, William Whedon, Donald Dickinson

Abstract

In educational settings, elementary students often monitor and report peer antisocial behaviors. However, few systems have been designed to encourage students to focus on peers' day-to-day prosocial behaviors. The current study attempted to determine if a proactive prosocial behavior program (i.e., tootling) could increase students' awareness of peer prosocial behaviors while also leading to a more positive perception of classmates.

Participants included two control groups (one 3rd-grade and one 4th-grade) and two experimental groups (one 3rd-grade and one 4th-grade). All participating students were assessed pre and post with the Prosocial/Antisocial Attention and Recognition Measure (PAARM) and the Peer Perception Scale (PPS). The PAARM is an experimenter constructed video, designed to measure students' awareness of peer prosocial and antisocial behaviors. The PPS is an experimenter constructed paper and pencil measure, designed to assess students' perception of their classmates. After the PAARM and PPS were administered, the experimental classrooms began the tootling program. Tootling is a technique that combines "tooting your own horn and "tattling." The tootling intervention used an interdependent group contingency to reinforce students in the experimental classrooms for monitoring and reporting the prosocial behaviors of their classmates.

Results indicate that students in the two experimental classrooms did not show an increased awareness of peer prosocial behaviors or a more positive perception of their classmates after receiving the tootling intervention. Evidence did suggest, however, students may be more aware of peer incidental antisocial behaviors when observing other children engaging in both antisocial and prosocial behaviors while at the same time perceiving their own classmates in a more prosocial manner.

Discussion focuses on limitations associated with the current independent and dependent variables. Specifically, researchers are encouraged to continue to develop and evaluate prosocial awareness and student perception assessment procedures. Additionally, procedures designed to enhance tootling programs are discussed.

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