Date of Award

8-1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Richard A. Saudargas

Committee Members

John W. Lounsbury, William A. Poppen, Robert G. Wahler

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of study carrels on distractible students. A secondary objective was to determine whether behavioral contrast effects resulted from working in the study carrels. Four third grade and two fifth grade students served as subjects. An ABAB single subject design was employed with the fifth graders. Observers collected data on the subjects' behaviors. During the intervention condition, the subjects did their independent seatwork while seated in a study carrel. To examine for behavioral contrast, data were collected during the period immediately after the students used the carrels.

The study carrels had positive effects on the third grade students. The school work behavior of two third graders increased and their distractible behaviors decreased both times they used the carrels. The carrels were similarly beneficial for the other two third grade students the second time they used them. The study carrels had moderate effects on the academic performances of the third graders. Six of the eight comparisons indicated that, on the average, a student completed more academic work when he used the study carrel. The carrels did not effect any notable changes in the behaviors of the fifth grade students. Behavioral contrast appeared to be present in some of the students' behaviors, but it was difficult to detect. One third grade student displayed very noticeable contrast effects. Her distractible behaviors increased substantially after she worked in the study carrel.

Although study carrels can have beneficial effects on students' behaviors, they are not equally effective with all student. In addition, the positive effects of the carrels may diminish over time and some students may display behavioral contrast effects. The results suggested that further research on the various effects of study carrels is needed and that applied research should examine behavioral contrast.

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