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Lecture Note For Chapter 4, come and see

by OC2

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Christian Campbell

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Chapter 4: Developing and Maintaining Behavior with Conditioned Reinforcement
Unconditioned and Conditioned Reinforcers
! Unconditioned reinforcers: stimuli or events which are important for our survival or biological
functioningthese are reinforcing without being conditionedalso known as primary or unlearned
o Examples: food for hungry people, water for thirsty, warmth for someone who is cold
! Conditioned reinforcers: stimuli that are not originally reinforcing can become reinforcers by being
paired or associated with other reinforcersconditioning is needed to establish such stimuli as
reinforcersalso known as secondary or learned reinforcers
o Examples: praise, a picture of a loved one, clothes that make use look good
! When stimulus becomes a reinforcer through association with other reinforcers, the other reinforcer are
sometimes called backup reinforcersthese can be conditioned or unconditioned reinforcers
! Honors and praise were likely paired with other reinforcers; in addition, they likely still are occasionally
backed up by reinforcers in the natural environment
! Positive reinforcers have a direct-acting effect on behavior that immediately preceded them
! Some conditioned reinforcers, called tokens, can be accumulated and exchanged for backup reinforcers;
BM program in which individual can earn tokens for specific behaviors and can cash in their tokens for
backup reinforcers is called token system
! Praise is another conditioned reinforcer; it cant be accumulated; praise is usually established as a
conditioned reinforcer during childhood, but it continues to be maintained as one for adults
! Main advantage of using conditioned reinforcers in a BM program is that they often can be delivered
more immediately than the backup reinforcer can; they help to bridge delays between behavior and more
powerful reinforcers
! Conditioned punishment: similar to that of conditioned reinforcement; stimulus that is paired with
reinforcement becomes reinforcing itself, so a stimulus that is paired with punishment becomes punishing
o Examples:no” and “stop thatoften followed by punishment if the individual continues to engage in
the behavior that provoked them
Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Conditioned Reinforcement
1) Strength of Backup Reinforcers
! Reinforcing power of a conditioned reinforcer depends in part on the reinforcing power of the backup
reinforcers on which it is based
2) The variety of Backup reinforcers
! Stimulus can become a conditioned reinforcer because of pairing with a single backup reinforcer
! Conditioned reinforcer that is paired with a single backup reinforcer is called simple conditioned
reinforcer (e.g. air miles; subway token; coupon for a free burger)
! A stimulus that is paired with many different kinds of backup reinforcers is referred to as generalized
conditioned reinforcer (child and parent relationship; money; praise; gift certificate for food and
beverage at a restaurant)
! Reinforcing power of a conditioned reinforcer depends in part on the number of different back up
reinforcers available for it; if there are many different back up reinforcers available, then at any given
time at least one of them will probably be strong enough to maintain tokens at a high reinforcing strength
for any individual in that program
3) The schedule of pairing with the backup reinforcer
! Conditioned reinforcement is more effective if a backup reinforcer does not follow each occurrence of the
conditioned reinforcer
4) Extinction of the conditioned reinforcer
! For a conditioned reinforcer to remain effective, it must continue to be associated with a suitable backup
reinforcer, at least occasionally
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