Thursday, October 25
If a stimulus is making a behaviour more frequent then it is a reinforcer. Reward is an emotion, it is, for
example, how food feels. Areinforcer is not necessarily rewarding and a reward is not necessarily a
When you have reinforced a behaviour effectively, then when the stimulus is presented, the response
In the example with the son going into the barber, the horse ride is a reward not a reinforcement.
• Operant conditioning occurs when S, R and S* occur together in time.
• Stop-action principle
◦ Any specific bodily position and the muscle movements occurring when the S* is delivered
will have a higher probability of occuring in the future.
◦ Superstitious behaviours
◦ Theorized that there is no cognitive link made, but that the responses are merely habitual.
▪ For example, wearing the same pants to all one's exams even though there is no real
reason for the pants to increase exam performance
◦ Not all operant conditioning leads to habitual conditioning (responding)
• Cognitive Theory
◦ We agree with the other school that rat in running a maze is exposed to stimuli and is finally
led as a result of these stimuli to the responses which actually occur. We feel, however, that
the intervening brain processes are more complicated [and] more autonomous that do the
◦ During operant conditioning, animals make S-S* associations. Rs are highly flexible, and
the primary role of a S* is to motivate behaviour.
◦ Present the monkey with a food object, then cover it, pull down a screen to create a delay
between when the monkey saw the food and when they are allowed to retrieve it.
▪ Switching the banana with lettuce during the delay produces anger in the animal,
offering evidence that animals do think and feel
▪ Animals generate expectations about what they anticipate to be coming next
• Reinforcing Stimulus:An event that enhances the storage of information about situations in
which it is encountered - “Stamping in”
◦ This enhanced storage increases the probability that the behaviour leading to the reinforcer
will be repeated in the future, even in the absence of the reinforcer
◦ The reinforcer allows the organism to develop a bond between a stimulus and event
◦ Arguing that reinforcers act on memory
▪ This is obvious because if you remove the sugar from the sugar dispenser without the
animal knowing, they will still attempt to use the sugar dispenser
◦ Presentation of stimulus and behaviour increases = positive reinforcement
◦ Removal of stimulus and behaviour increases = negative reinforcement ◦ Presentation of stimulus and behaviour decreases = positive punishment (Also called
◦ Removal of stimulus and behaviour decreases = Negative punishment (Also called
Why is a Reinfocer Reinforcing?
• Areinforcer is an event that follows a response and changes the probability that the response
will be emitted in the future
• How can an event change behaviour when the new behaviour occurs in the absence of the
• Enhancement of memory consolidation
◦ Reinforcing events enhance the acquisition and the storage of information in the brain
• Attribution of conditioned motivation
◦ Learning is the formation of representations of the relationships among objects and events.
Arepresentation of a reinforcer will motivate behaviour.
◦ Provide a motivational context for your behaviour
Reinforcer graphic on Courselink
Ehancement of Memory Consolidation
• As you form a new memory, as the memory is being newly introduced in your brain, it is fragile
• As you process your memory, it can be changed
• If you do nothing, it takes time to transform the memory from fragile to permane