Reinforcement: The process by which the behavior is immediately strengthened by its immediate
consequences that reliably and immediately follow its occurrence. When a behavior is strengthened, it is more
likely to occur in the future.
• Example: Thorndike law of effect and the cat in the cage that had food in front. Getting to food ( is
consequences) reinforced the behavior of hitting the lever (behavior or response took less time as compare
to the very first time). Response▯ consequence▯ outcome (strength behavior). Example 2: Skinner’s rate
experiment. Rat presses the lever▯ immediately food is presented▯outcome is increase hitting of the lever.
1. The occurrence of a particular behavior
2. Is followed by an immediate consequence
3. Results is the strengthen of the behavior. Strengthen is defined as increasing frequency, duration,
intensity, or speed (decrease latency).
• Operant behavior: Behavior that is strengthen through the process of reinforcement. It acts on the
environment to produce a consequence (reinforcer=strengthens the operant behavior), which intern is
controlled by the environment. Example: Child cries ( operant behavior)▯parent attention ( consequence or the
• Note: it is correct to say you changed the behavior BUT not the person.
Positive and negative reinforcement:
• Very Important: Both positive and negative INCREASE behavior. Both increase the probability that
the behavior will increase in future.
• 1) Behavior▯ 2) stimulus ▯ strengthening of the behavior
• Note: Only the nature of the consequences (2) differentiates between the two. In this case positive is
addition or increase intensity of stimulus of something good( Positive Reinforcer). Negative is
removal of something bad ( aversive stimulus or negative reinforcer) or decrease in intensity.
Stimulus: Object or event ( both physical and social environment) that can be detected by the senses.
• Negative reinforcement is not the same as punishment ( which decreases the behavior you
• Summary: To identify which is reinforcer (and +/) follow these:
• 1) What is the behavior
• 2) What happened immediately after the behavior ( was stimulus ADDED(+) or REMOVED (
• 3) what happened to the behavior in the future? ( was it strengthened? Increased=reinforcement)
Social vs. Automatic reinforcement:
• Social reinforcement: involves another person to deliver reinforcing consequences ( i.e. when you
ask a friend to bring chips, he does, u ask again ( Positive social Reinforcement). Example 2: Social
Negative reinforcement: Asking friend ( social) to turn Down TV since it is too loud( removing aversive
• Automatic reinforcement: the individual gets reinforcing consequences directly from the
environment. Example the same as above but you DO everything yourself ( no person involved)
• Premack principle: a preferred behavior can serve as positive reinforcement for performing a less
Escape and avoidance behavior : Both Negative Reinforcement • Escape behavior : causes removal of existing aversive stimulus ( i.e. it has already occurred). e.g.,
when you feel cold you put on a sweater. Example 2: Shock is given and the rat jumps to the other
side(right)▯immediately after the rat escapes any further shocks. Outcome: rat more likely to jump to other
side ( away from shock)
• Avoidance behavior : prevents presentation of aversive stimulus. It has not occurred yet.. Rat hears a
tone▯he jumps to the other side▯and immediately after he avoid the shock. Outcome: rat likely to jump away
when he hears the tone.
Conditional and unconditional Reinforcer:
• unconditional (or primary) reinforcer: stimulus or event that has natural reinforcing effects (i.e.,
not due to prior conditioning or learning); may enhance survival (biological importance). Example are: food,
water, absence of pain.
• Unconditional (or secondary) reinforcer: previously neutral stimulus that has become associated
with an unconditioned reinforcer. e.g., animal clicker training: animals are reinforced with food which is
paired with a click soun