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Chapter 4

Behaviour Modficiation - Chapter 4 Book Notes

10 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Zachariah Campbell

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4
Reinforcement
Reinforcement: is the process in which behaviour is strengthened by the immediate consequence that
reliably follows its occurrence
When a behaviour is strengthened, it is more likely to occur again in the future
Thorndike placed a hungry car in a cage and put food outside of the cage
The cage was rigged so that a door would open if the cat hit a lever with its paw
Eventually, the cat accidently hit the lever, got out of the cage, and ate the food
Each time the cat was placed in the cage, it took less time for the cat to hit the lever
Over time, the cat hit the lever with its paw as soon as it was placed in the cage
Thorndike called this phenomenon the law of effect
Defining Reinforcement
When a behaviour results in a favourable outcome, that behaviour is more likely to be repeated in
the future
Skinner emphasized the role of reinforcement in determining numerous human behaviours
May naturally occur, due to day-to-day interactions with our social and physical environment
May be planned as part of a behaviour modification program
Reinforcement is defined as the occurrence of a particular behaviour, followed by an immediate
consequence that results in the strengthening of the behaviour
Operant behaviour: a behaviour that is strengthened through the process of reinforcement
Acts on the environment to produce a consequence
Occurs again in the future as a result of its immediate consequence
The consequence that strengthens the operant behaviour is called a reinforcer
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The frequency of the behaviour is low during baseline and higher during the reinforcement phase
Duration and intensity may also increase as function of reinforcement
ExampleThe child cried at night when her parents put her to bed. The childs crying was an
operant behaviour. The reinforcer was her crying was the parents attention
Since crying at night resulted in the reinforcer, the childs crying was strengthened
Positive and Negative Reinforcement
Both positive and negative reinforcement are processes that strengthen behaviour
Positive reinforcement is defined as follows
The occurrence of a behaviour
Is followed by the addition of a stimulus (a reinforcer) or an increase in the intensity of a stimulus
Which results in the strengthening of a behaviour
Negative reinforcement is defined as follows
The occurrence of a behaviour
Is followed by the removal of a stimulus (an aversive stimulus) or a decrease in the intensity of a
stimulus
Which results in the strengthening of a behaviour
Stimulus: is an object or event that can be detected by one of the senses, thus has the potential to influence
the person. May be a feature of the physical or social environment
In positive reinforcement, the stimulus that is presented or that appears after the behaviour is called a
positive reinforcer. In negative reinforcement, the stimulus that is removed or avoided after the behaviour
is called an aversive stimulus
Negative reinforcement and punishment is not the same. Punishment decreases the behaviour, whereas
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4
negative reinforcement increases the behaviour. The term negative” refers to the removal of the stimulus
after the behaviour
Reinforcement is always defined by the effect it has on the behaviour. This is called a functional
definition
To determine whether a particular consequence will be a reinforcer for a particular person, you have to try
it out and measure its effect on the behaviour
To identify an example as positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, or neither, you must ask
yourself three questions
What is the behaviour
What happened immediately after the behaviour (Was a stimulus added or removed?)
What happened to the behaviour in the future? (Was it strengthened?)
Social versus Automatic Reinforcement
When a behaviour produces a reinforcing consequence through the actions of another person, the process
is social reinforcement
Exampleasking your roommate to turn down the TV when it is too loud
When the behaviour produces a reinforcing consequence through direct contact with the physical
environment, the process is automatic reinforcement
Example – you got the remote and turned down the volume on the TV yourself
One type of positive reinforcement involves the opportunity to engage in a high-probability behaviour (a
preferred behaviour) as a consequence for a low-probability behaviour (a less-preferred behaviour) to
increase the low-probability behaviour
This is called Premack principle
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Description
4 Reinforcement Reinforcement: is the process in which behaviour is strengthened by the immediate consequence that reliably follows its occurrence When a behaviour is strengthened, it is more likely to occur again in the future Thorndike placed a hungry car in a cage and put food outside of the cage The cage was rigged so that a door would open if the cat hit a lever with its paw Eventually, the cat accidently hit the lever, got out of the cage, and ate the food Each time the cat was placed in the cage, it took less time for the cat to hit the lever Over time, the cat hit the lever with its paw as soon as it was placed in the cage Thorndike called this phenomenon the law of effect Defining Reinforcement When a behaviour results in a favourable outcome, that behaviour is more likely to be repeated in the future Skinner emphasized the role of reinforcement in determining numerous human behaviours May naturally occur, due to day-to-day interactions with our social and physical environment May be planned as part of a behaviour modification program Reinforcement is defined as the occurrence of a particular behaviour, followed by an immediate consequence that results in the strengthening of the behaviour Operant behaviour: a behaviour that is strengthened through the process of reinforcement Acts on the environment to produce a consequence Occurs again in the future as a result of its immediate consequence The consequence that strengthens the operant behaviour is called a reinforcer www.notesolution.com
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