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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ethnic differences in the relative effectiveness of incentives Cameron, Catherine Ann


An experiment was performed to test the hypothesis that the performance of B.C. Indian children for non-material incentives would be inferior to their performance on the same task for material incentives. The reverse was expected to be true of middleclass white Canadian children. Working-class white children were expected to be intermediate. Sixty-six male Ss from 6 to 13 years were given fifty trials on a discrimination task. They were reinforced either by candy or by a light flash. Middle-class Ss were significantly superior to Indian and working-class Ss under non-material but not under material conditions. There was, however, no significant difference between Indians and working-class whites. Other measures included TAT stories scored, for n Achievement and an immediate-delayed reward choice. Each of these discriminated middle-class white Ss from the other two groups, but did not discriminate between Indian and working-class children. Middleclass Ss were much more likely to show achievement imagery and to choose a larger, delayed reward. Reservations about making generalizations from the results Of this sample were discussed; refinements in the procedures were proposed; and behavioral contrasts between the three subcultural groups were described with the view of presenting suggestions for further research in this area.

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