University of Tasmania
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The cognitive processes of educable mentally retarded children in hypothetical temptation to steal situations and their responses to treatment

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:32 authored by Haines, Allan Thomas
This thesis had two major study components, Study I was concerned with an evaluation of educable mentally retarded children's responses and cognitive processes in hypothetical temptation to steal situations, whilst Study II examined the effectiveness of treatment programs in modifying the children's behaviour in such situations. Justification for this research emanated from the problems faced by the community in relationship to stealing. In Study I the sample, which consisted of 83 eleven to sixteen year old children, I.Q. 50-75, was randomly selected from a population of 108 children in special schools in Tasmania. The children were administered a series of tests including Jackson's Hypothetical Temptation to Steal Test (JHTST) and real life temptation measures. The major findings indicated that there was a significant discrepancy between the children's resistance responses on the behavioural ('did do') measure compared to the moral judgement ('should do') measure of the JHTST. The cognitive operations were analysed in terms of extrinsic, intrinsic and right/wrong cognitive processes. It was found that extrinsic yielding processes were used significantly more than intrinsic processes on both the 'did do' and 'should do' measures. A significantly greater number of children used right/wrong resistance processes on the 'did do' measure compared to extrinsic or intrinsic processes. There was no difference between right/wrong and extrinsic processes on the 'should do' measure. As a result of the findings from Study I a treatment program was designed. An evaluation of this treatment program constituted the basis for Study II. The treatment derived its main aspects and content from Jackson's (1968) model of cognitive processing in hypothetical temptation to steal situations. The content and format of the treatment owed much to a study done by Haines, Jackson and Davidson with normal children in 1980. Study II, which was based on the same population pool of 108 children Study I drew from, employed a four group design with one group receiving a direct instruction program (DIP). A second group, serving as an alternative treatment condition received a general instruction procedure (GIP), while a third group (no treatment control) experienced no specific intervention. The fourth group was a post-only control group employed to test for sensitization of testing effects. An analysis of the data from Study II indicated that the DIP group used both resistance responses and intrinsic resistance processes significantly more than the GIP and no treatment control groups on the behavioural measure of the JHTST. A three month follow-up probe indicated that the gains made by the DIP group were maintained. The implications of the study for the prevention of stealing were considered.


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Copyright 1980 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1981. Bibliography: l. 243-253

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