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Lecture Note For PSYB45, Lecture 4

by OC2

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Christian Campbell

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Chapter 4
Developing and Maintaining Behaviour with Conditioned Reinforcement
Unconditioned Reinforcers
- such stimuli or events, which are usually important for our survival or
biological functioning.
- Sometimes called “primary” or “unlearned reinforcers.”
- Exmaples! food for a hungry person, water for a thirsty person, warmth for
someone who is cold, etc.
Condition Reinforcers
- stimuli that are not originally reinforcing can become reinforcers by being
paired or associated with other reinforcers. Stimuli that becomes reinfoers in
this way are called condition reinforcers.
- Sometimes called secondary or learned reinforcers
- Examples! praise, a picture of a loved one, books we like to read, favourite
tv programs, and clothes that make us looks good, etc.
Backup reinforcers
- when a stimulus becomes a reinforcer through association with other reinforcers
-Some conditioned reinforcers, called tokens, can be accumulated and exchanged for
backup reinforcers. A behaviour modification program in which individuals can earn
tokens for specific behaviours and can cash in their tokens for backup reinforcers is
called a token system.
Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Conditioned Reinforcement
1) The Strength of Backup Reinforcers
- the reinforcing power of a condition reinforcer depends in part on the
reinforcing power of th e backup reinforcers(s) on which it is based.
2) The Variety of Backup Reinforcers
- Simple conditioned reinforcer- a conditioned reinforcer that is paired with a
single backup reinforcer
- Generalized conditioned reinforcer- a stimulus that is paired with many
different kinds of backup reinforcers.
- The reinforcing power of a conditioned reinforcer depends in part on the
number of different backup reinforcers available for it.
3) The Schedule of Pairing with the Backup Reinforcer
- Conditioned reinforcement is more effective is a backup reinforcer does not
follow each occurrence of the condition reinforcer. Ex! Coach Dawson’s
program had to earn a certain number of points before they were given backup
4) Extinction of the Condition Reinforcer
- For a conditioned reinforcer to remain effectice, it must continue to be
associated with a suitable backup reinforcer, at least occasionally.
- Ceasing to provide backup reinforcement for a conditioned reinforcer is called
extinction of a conditioned reinforcer.
Pitfalls of Conditioned Reinforcement