Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rule governed behavior: Investigating a structural model of influences on adherence to rules
by Gladden, Paul Robert, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2011, 113; 3452997
Abstract (Summary)

Behavior-analytic accounts of rule-adherence behavior suggest that rule-governance is a general class of functional (i.e., instrumental) behavior maintained by social consequences (Baum, 2005; Malott & Suarez, 2004; Jacobs et al., in prep.). Evolutionary Life-History (LH) theory suggests that LH strategy may underlie variation in rule-adherence behavior. Based on an integration of these two theories, a theoretical structural model of rule-governance was developed and tested. The structure of this model was used to develop follow-up experiments to test particularly salient links in the model. Consistent with theory, the structural model indicated that slow LH strategy directly and indirectly (through increased moral emotions and increased executive functioning) contributed to strength of rule-governance. Two experiments failed to replicate previously demonstrated effects of executive function depletion or moral identity priming (on moral behavioral outcome measures). Further, self-report measures of slow LH strategy, executive functioning, and rule-governance did not predict prosocial (donating) or rule-defiance (cheating) behavior in laboratory tasks. The limitations of relying solely on either self-report or behavioral tasks of unknown external validity are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Figueredo, Aurelio J., Jacobs, W. Jake
Commitee: Nichols, Shaun, Sechrest, Lee
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 72/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Executive function, Moral judgment, Obedience, Rule-governance
Publication Number: 3452997
ISBN: 978-1-124-60846-4
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