Lecture Note For PSYB45, Lecture 4

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20 Jul 2010
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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
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Document Summary

Unconditioned reinforcers such stimuli or events, which are usually important for our survival or biological functioning. 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. Examples praise, a picture of a loved one, books we like to read, favourite tv programs, and clothes that make us looks good, etc. 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. Simple conditioned reinforcer- a conditioned reinforcer that is paired with a single backup reinforcer.

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