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Probability learning in mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, and normal children.
This study examined the behavior of 80 subjects including 39 mentally retarded, 21 emotionally disturbed, and 20 normal children (mean mental age [MA] = 8.2 years), on a problem-solving task involving partial reinforcement to three stimuli. The main dependent variables were numbers of correct responses, types of response patterns, and expec- tation level. Differences in response patterns by groups were reported, including differences in type of pattern. While no significant differences in level of correct response or level of expectation were noted, data from pattern analysis suggested differing grades of strategies to be characteristic of the subject categories. Normal subjects tended to produce more variations of the LMR-RML sequence while retarded subjects tended to repeat a pro- gressive search across the three choices. Findings from other studies were discussed in relation to these variables and these results .