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PSYB45H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Reinforcement, Tantrum, Stimulus Control

Course Code
Amanda Uliaszek
Study Guide

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Chapter 5-Reinforcement: Positive and Negative
-law of effect: satisfying consequences, such as rewards or escape from unpleasant circumstances,
strengthen stimulus-response connections gradually in the process of learning
-reinforce: strengthen, increase, or make more pronounced
-reinforcement: the process in which a consequence of a behaviour strengthens that behaviour, making it
more likely to occur in the futureconsequence is contingent on the behaviouroccurs only when the
behaviour occurs
-reinforcer is the object or event that serves as the consequence in reinforcementbasically something
someone ‗wants‘ or finds ‗pleasant‘ or ‗satisfying‘
-natural reinforcers-consequences of a behaviour that occur spontaneously as a normal part of every day
events and are not planned and given systematically to affect a behaviour, even though they doi.e.,
when pushing a switch illuminates the room (behaviour: pushing switch; consequence: illumination) OR
telling a joke is reinforced by the enjoyment other people express
Another form of natural reinforcement is automatic reinforcement, in which a behaviour
produces a reinforcer directly, without other ppl playing a role. i.e., scratching an itch and making
a sound that is pleasing to oneself
-programmed reinforcers- consequences provided within a program of reinforcement with the goal of
increasing or strengthening specific behaviouri.e., high grades for good work in school & wages for
satisfactory work on a job
-positive reinforcement: the consequence involves presenting or adding a stimulus (called ‗positive
reinforcers‘) after the individual has performed a response
-negative reinforcement: when the negative pattern occurs, a stimulus is subtractedfor example, if a
boy has a tantrum in a store b/c his mother refused to buy him candy, and she relents, the tantrum stops.
In this example, both ppl‘s behaviour received reinforcement. The boy‘s tantrum behaviour resulted in
positive reinforcement (candy) but the mother‘s behaviour of relenting received negative reinforcement,
making her more likely to relent for future tantrums. In negative reinforcement, the consequence of the
behaviourin this case, relenting and buying candyinvolves decreasing or removing an aversive
stimulus, the tantrum (other examples include drinking alcohol to reduce unpleasant feelings or eating
foods to reduce feelings of hunger or taking an aspirin to to decrease physical pain)—so basically you‘re
adding something to either increase a behaviour (positive reinforcement) or to decrease or remove a
behaviour (negative reinforcement)
-positive and negative reinforcement each result in a relatively desirable state of affairs for the recipient
i.e., child got candy and mother got an end to the tantrum
-unconditioned reinforcers: also known as primary reinforcers are consequences that function as
reinforcers even when the individual has had no learning history w/ themi.e., food, water, warmth, and
reduction of pain when individual is hungry, thirsty, cold, or in pain

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-conditioned reinforcers: also known as secondary reinforcers are stimuli that did not have the ability to
strengthen behaviour until they became reinforcing as a result of learningi.e., money can be served as a
conditioned reinforcer & it probably developed its ability to strengthen behaviour for you by being
associated w/ other stimuli that were already reinforcing, such as when you paid for clothes or food
Concept Check 5.1
1) Increases 2.) present 3.) applying ointment to injured area to reduce pain 4.) adding and
subtracting 5.) candy 6.) unconditioned reinforcer 7.) getting something desirable or satisfying
-to choose reinforcers for an intervention to change operant behaviour, one must be aware of the types of
reinforcers available
-tangible means material objects we can perceive
-consumable means things we can eat or drink
they both include conditioned and unconditioned responsesi.e., when children at mealtime
Obey their parent‘s instructions to wash their hands before they may sit at the table and eat, food is the
reinforcer for their behaviour
-using high probability behaviours (i.e., drawing for little kids) as a reinforcer for a specific behaviour
-Premack Principle: Premack proposed that one reason consequences are reinforcing is that they
involve performing high-probability behaviours, and these activities will work as reinforcers only for less
frequent behavioursi.e., toothbrushing at a summer camp increased when the campers‘ opportunity to
go swimming was contingent on brushing their teeth
-potential activity reinforcers can be identified by monitoring ppl‘s naturally occurring activities & see
which ones they choose most often when they have a free choice
-it is unclear as to why using high-probability behaviours increase low probability behaviour, one
hypothesis proposed the explanation called the response deprivation hypothesisaccording to this view,
using a high-probability behaviour (for instance, playing a game) as a reward makes that activity
contingent on performing an infrequent behaviour (doing chores), thereby restricting or depriving the
person of his or her usual opportunities to perform the high-probability behaviourperson increase doing
chores to overcome restricted opportunities to do the restricted behaviour, playing a game
-social reinforcers are consequences consisting of interpersonal acts that strengthen one‘s behaviour, as
when our behaviour receives praise, attention, or a smile, nod, or affectionate touch
acts given directly or indirectly (such as in a letter of appreciation)
-3 advantages to using social reinforcers for improving ppl‘s behaviour:
1) can be administered easily and quickly in almost any setting
2) can be given immediately after the target behaviour, enhancing effectiveness
3) they occur ‗naturally‘ in ppl‘s everyday lives as a result may continue to reinforce target
behaviour after the intervention ends

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-feedback: information that assesses or guides people‘s performance
-can either be positive, indicating our behaviour is correct or negative, indicating corrections are needed
-occurs naturally in people‘s lives, doesn‘t interrupt ongoing behaviour, and can be administered easily,
quickly, and immediately in almost any setting
-combining feedback with reward usually works better
-a special feedback technique called biofeedback helps ppl gain voluntary control over body processes by
using equipment to give them continuous and specific information about the current functioning of a
physiological process
-tokens are conditioned reinforcers that are like money because they can be accumulated and exchanged
for goods or privileges, which are called backup reinforcers
backup reinforcers are some form of tangible, consumable, social, or activity rewards
-tokens have the advantages of:
a) bridging the delay b/w performing the target behaviour and getting tangible, consumable, or
activity reinforcers for it
b) offering the possibility of a variety of backup reinforcers, thereby maintaining the tokens‘
value at a consistently high level
-whilst designing a token reinforcement system, keep in mind that criteria for earning tokens should be
neither too easy or too difficult & the number of tokens needed to buy back-up reinforcers should be
-the degree to which an ind. Values a specific consequence determines how likely it is to reinforce a
behaviourthe greater its value, the greater its strengthening effect on a behaviour
-what aspects of a reinforcer determine its value?
reinforcers may vary in their quantityfor example amount of ice cream ind. receivesand
quality or character (different flavours)
-in positive reinforcement, the quantatity and quality of a reinforcer determine its value
-reward value in negative reinforcement is determined by 2 factors:
1.) Quantitythat is, the amount by which the aversive situation is reduced. For instance, we are
more likely to take aspirin to relieve a headache in the future if doing so in the past stopped most or all of
the pain rather than just a little
2.) Intensity of the aversive conditionnegative reinforcement is more effective when the
behaviour reduces a very aversive stimulus than when it reduces a milder one
-when changing someones existing behavior or teaching them a new behaviour, one can maximise the
effect of reinforcement by delivering it immediately after each and every correct response
-cicumstances can increase or decrease a person‘s motivation and the reward values of a reinforcer
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