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Aloneness and Togetherness as Drive Conditions in Children NICHD USPHS

Rosenhan, David L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute of Mental Health, United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Affiliation Need, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Reinforcement, Social Experience, Social Isolation, Social Reinforcement


In order to examine the effects of aloneness (social deprivation) and togetherness (social satiation) on the subsequent responsiveness of children to reinforcers, younger and older Ss were socially deprived or satiated and then exposed to either positive or negative, social or nonsocial reinforcement. The findings indicate that socially deprived children are indifferent to the valence of the subsequent reinforcement, so long as it is social. Socially satiated children are subsequently most responsive to nonsocial reinforcement (or pure information). The findings are more consistent with a drive than an anxiety interpretation of social deprivation. Additional findings indicate that younger children respond more to negative reinforcement, while older children show a strong preference for positive reinforcement. The results are examined for their implications for theories of social drives, and for the limitations they set on the development of problem-solving behavior.

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