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October 2021

The effect of reinforcement on attentiveness: A comparison of behaviorally trained music therapists and other professionals with implications for competency-based academic preparation

Author(s): Alley, J. M.

Journal/Book: Journal of Music Therapy. 1979; 16: Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. National Association for Music Therapy 8455 Colesville Rd., Suite 930 20910 Silver Spring, Maryland USA. 70-82.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to isolate the variables of therapist/teacher approval, disapproval, and mistakes of reinforcement in relation to music and nonmusic subject matter and attentiveness. Behaviorally trained music therapists, choral, instrumental, and general music educators, and behaviorally trained and comparison teachers were observed. Data were collected on rates of approval, disapproval, mistakes of reinforcement, total time spent in reinforcement, and approval ratio concurrent with percentage of off-task for those students/clients referred as having problems. Comparisons of these data revealed that behaviorally trained music therapists and behaviorally trained teachers achieve similar high approval ratios and evidence low rates of student/client off-task. Pupils were least off-task in choral and instrumental groups despite low approval ratios of conductors suggesting that music performance may be intrinsically reinforcing. Comparison teachers and general music educators were least reinforcing and had the highest rates of pupil off-task. ABSTRACT 2: Observation of music therapists, music educators, and general teachers who were trained in behavioral techniques showed that they elicited better attention from students or clients than did a comparison group who had not received behavioral training. A pilot study with music therapy majors analyzed the acquisition of reinforcement skills and demonstrated the usefulness of this method with trainable mentally retarded students. The implications of these findings for the academic training of music therapists are discussed. (26 ref)

Note: behavioral training; use of reinforcement skills & subsequent increases in client & student attentiveness; music therapists & teachers; training implications

Keyword(s): reinforcement, attentiveness, music-therapy-students, behavior-modification-techniques, competency-based, competency, music-therapy-curriculum.


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