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PSYB45H3 Study Guide - Reinforcement, Weaning

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Zachariah Campbell

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The principle of extinction states
a) in a given situation individual emits a previously reinforced response & that
response is not followed by a reinforcing consequence
b) that person is less likely to do the same thing again when he/she next
encounters a similar situation
if a response has been increased in frequency through positive reinforcement, then
completely ceasing to reinforce the response will cause it to decrease in frequency
Over a # of trails behaviors that no longer “pay offgradually decrease.
Behavior can also decrease cuz of forgetting. In forgetting a behavior is weakened
as a function of time following the last occurrence of the behavior.
In extinction behavior is weakened as a result of begin emitted without being
Factors influencing the effectiveness of extinction
1.Controlling reinforces for the behavior that is to be decreased
Reinforcers presented by other ppl or by the physical env’t can undo your
good efforts at applying extinction.
2.Extinction of a behavior combined with positive reinforcement for an alternative
Extinction is most effective when combined with positive reinforcement for
some alternative behavior
Its important that the increase in the requirement be very gradual
otherwise the undesirable behavior will not decrease very rapidly
Its also important during the application of extinction to ensure that the
reinforcers that you are withholding are the ones that were actually
maintaining the underirable behavior.
Extinction is sometimes criticized on the grounds that it is cruel to deprive
ppl of social attention during their time of need
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3.The setting in which extinction is carried out
One reason for changing the setting in which extinction is carried out is to
minimize the possibility that other ppl will reinforce the behavior you are
trying to decrease.
Minimize the influence of alterative reinforces on the undersirable behavior
to be extinguished
Maximize the chance of the behavior modifier persisting with the program
4.Instructions: make use of rules
It is not necessary that individual be able to talk about or understand
extinction it will probably help speed up the decrease in behavior if the
person is initially told something like this: each time you do X then
Y(reinforcing item) will no longer occur
5.Extinction may be quicker after continuous reinforcement
The influence of the reinforcement schedule on extinction can easily be
imagined if you consider a little problem that you may have encountered
When a behavior has always been reinforced & then is never reinforced
behavior extinguishes fairly quickly
When intermittent reinforcement has maintained a behavior that behavior
is likely to extinguish more slowly
Behavior that extinguishes slowly is said to be resistant to extinction
Extinction is often quicker after continuous reinforcement (in which each
response was reinforced) than after intermittent reinforcement ( in which
response were reinforced only occasionally).
If you try to extinguish a behavior that has been reinforced intermittently
you must be prepared for extinction to take longer
6.Behavior being extinguished may get worse before it gets better
During extinction behavior may increase before it begins to decrease
Increase in responding during extinction is commonly referred to as
extinction burst
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