Lecture Note For PSYB45, Lecture 13
Establishing a Desirable Behavior by Using Escape and Avoidance Conditioning
- States that there are certain stimuli who removal immediately after the
occurrence of a response will increase the likelihood of that response.
- Similar to aversive punishment in that both involve the use of an aversive
stimulus (or punisher), but they differ procedurally in terms of both the
antecedents and the consequences of behaviour. The antecedent in escape
condition, the aversive stimulus must be present prior to an escape response,
whereas the aversive stimulus is not present prior to a response that is
- With regards to consequences, in escape conditioning, the aversive stimulus is
removed immediately following a response, whereas in punishment the
aversive stimulus (pr punisher) is presenting immediately following a
- In punishment, the likelihood of the target response is decreased, and the
likelihood of the target response in escape conditioning is increased.
- Another name for escape conditioning is negative reinforcement. The term
“reinforcement” indicated that it is analogous to positive reinforcement in that
both strengthen responses. The term “negative” indicates that the
strengthening effect occurs because the response leads to the removal of an
- Escape conditioning does have the disadvantage that the aversive stimulus
MUST be present for the desired response to occur.
- States that behaviour will increase in frequency if it prevents an aversive
stimulus from occurring.
- Escape response removes an aversive stimulus that has already been
presented, which an avoidance response prevents an aversive stimulus from
occurring at all.
- Warning stimulus- something that signals that an aversive stimulus will
occur (ex. A clicking sounds before the tone sound occurs). Also called a
conditioned aversive stimulus
- Discriminated avoidance conditioning - type of avoidance conditioning,
which includes a warning signal that enables the individual to discriminate a
forthcoming aversive stimulus.
Pitfalls of Escape and Avoidance conditioning
- There are many ways in which people unknowingly apply escape and
avoidance conditioning with the result that undesirable behaviours are
strengthened. For example, teachers with persons with developmental
disabilities often unknowingly maintain problem behaviour of persons through
- Problem behaviours by persons with developmental disabilities frequently
enable them to escape teaching situations, work, or performance or household
- Children might even establish inappropriate verbal behaviour by saying “I’ll
be good” or “I won’t do it again” to escape or avoid punishment which will
then persist and strengthen an undesirable behaviour.
- Second pitfall is the inadvertent establishment of conditioned aversive
stimulus, to which an individual then responds in such a way as to escape or
avoid the. For example! coach constantly yells, criticizes and ridicules his
athletes, and the athletes may show improved skills primarily to avoid or
escape the wrath of the coach, but they are also very likely to avoid the coach
too (who has become the condition aversive stimulus). If the coach’s
coaching skills continue, some might even quit the sport entirely.