Rule Governed and Contingency Shaped Behavior

Stanley Milgram

People are said to solve problems either by discovery or by instruction. From a behavioral perspective, the difference is between the direct effects of contingencies (discovery) and the indirect effects of rules (instruction). When performance is attributed to direct exposure to reinforcement contingencies, behavior is said to be contingency-shaped. As previously noted, performance set up by constructing and following instructions (and other verbal stimuli) is termed rule-governed behavior...