Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Ada Celeste Harvey

Second Advisor

Nicole Gravina

Third Advisor

Darby Proctor

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Steelman


This study examined the separate and combined effects of negative reinforcement and signaling to improve the athletic performance of college athletes. Eleven female varsity lacrosse players who attended a private college in the southeastern United States participated in the study. The team coaches requested help with increasing “pass-naming,” (i.e., saying the name of an intended receiver before the ball was passed), to alert her of an incoming pass. The following procedure included a negative reinforcement component, whereby players could reduce daily required sprints by calling out intended receivers’ names to alert them of incoming passes. An additional procedure included affixing a colorful band on players’ sticks near the head—an area they frequently look at to ensure proper orientation—to prompt them to name passes. Results were evaluated using a reversal design, and showed the combined intervention phase—negative reinforcement plus signaling—was most effective at increasing pass-naming.


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