Positive reinforcer: is a stimulus that, when presented immediately following a behavior,
causes the behavior to increase in frequency.
event can be used to strengthen other behaviors in other situations.
Operant behaviours: behaviours that operate on the environment to generate
consequences and are in turn influenced by those consequences
followed by reinforcers are strengthened
followed by punishers are weakened.
FACTORS INFLUENCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
1. Selecting the Behavior to Be Increased
2. Choosing Reinforcers ("Different Strokes for Different Folks")
Most positive reinforcers can be classified under five somewhat overlapping
headings: consumable, activity, manipulative, possessional, and social.
1. Consumable reinforcers are items that one can eat or drink
2. Activity reinforcers are the opportunities to watch television,
3. Manipulative reinforcers include the opportunities to play with a toy
4. Possessional reinforcers enjoy some other item that one can possess (at least
5. Social reinforcers include affectionate or other indication of social attention.
Another method is simply to observe the individual in everyday activities and note
those activities engaged in most often.
It is often quite effective to allow an individual to choose among a number of
No matter how you have selected a potential reinforcer for an individual, it is always
the individual's performance that tells you whether you have selected an effective
an object or event is defined as a reinforcer only by its effect on behavior.
It is also worth noting that the extrinsic-intrinsic distinction between reinforcers
may not even be valid: All reinforcers involve external (i.e., extrinsic) stimuli and all
have internal (i.e., intrinsic) aspects.
Escape conditioning or negative reinforcement, which states that there are certain
stimuli, called aversive stimuli, whose removal immediately after the occurrence of a
behavior will increase the likelihood of that behavior.
Premack principle- if the opportunity to engage in a behavior that has a high probability
of occurring is made contingent on a behavior that has a low probability of occurring, then
the behavior that has a low probability of occurring will be strengthened.
3. Motivating Operations
Deprivation: indicates the time during which an individual does not experience a
the longer the period, the more effective the reinforcer will be.
Satiation: a condition in which an individual has experienced a particular reinforcer to
such an extent that it is temporarily no longer reinforcing. Motivating operations (MOs): Events or conditions (a) temporarily alter the effectiveness
of a reinforcer and (b) alter the frequency of behavior reinforced by that reinforcer
(such as deprivation and satiation that)
might be thought of as a motivational variable--a variable that affects the likelihood
and direction of behavior.
4. Reinforcer Size
The size (magnitude) of a reinforcer is an important determinant of its effectiveness.
optimum amount of a reinforcer to ensure its effectiveness depends on additional
factors, such as the difficulty of the behavior and the availability of competing
behaviors for alternative reinforcers.
the reinforcer on each trial should be small enough to minimize satiation and
maximize the number of reinforced trials p