Behavior Modification (Chapter 3)
Ch 3 Positive Rein forcer- an event when presented immediately following a behavior,
causes the behavior to increase in frequency or likelihood of reoccurring. Synonymous
with the word reward.
Positive reinforcement- in a given situation, somebody does something, that is followed
immediately by a + rein forcer, then that person is more likely to do the same thing gain
when he or she next encounters a similar situation. ( p. 30.figure 3-1). Positive rein
forcer and + reinforcement are used interchangeably.
In each context , it might take several repetitions before there would be any obvious
increase in the reinforcement response( increase would be noticeable to the observer).
Behaviors that operate on the environment to general consequences, and are in turn
influenced by those consequences , are called operant behaviors or operant
responses.(note: operant behaviors that are followed by punishers are weakened).
Factors influencing the effectiveness of + reinforcement:
• 1)Selecting the behavior to be increased _ the behavior must be specifically
identifies, by being specific it will help to ensure the reliability of detecting
instances of the behavior changes in its frequency, which is the yardstick by
which one judges rein forcer effectiveness; and increase the likelihood that the
reinforcement program will be applied consistently
• 2)Choosing rein forcer (diff strokes for diff folks)- the important thing is to use
a rein forcer that is effective w/ the individual w/ whom your working . It is
important to keep in mind that + rein forcers are events that strengthen response
when they are introduced or added after the response. However the removal of an
event following a response may also strengthen that response, its called negative
reinforcement or escape conditioning. E.g. parents nagging a teen to do dishes, as
teen compile the dishes, the nagging stops.
• + rein forcers classified into 5 overlapping headings: consumable- eat or drink,
activity-opportunities for TV, book etc ,manipulative- opportunities to play w/
favorite toys, ride a bike, surf net, or color or paint, possession- sit on own chair,
wearing dress/shirt, own room, and social- affectionate pats, hugs, praise, nods
smiles. (note attention from others is a very strong reinforcement for almost
• In choosing effective rein forcers for an individual, it is often helpful to examine a
list of rein forcers used by others (table 3-2) or to complete a rein forcer survey
• Trial and error method may be involved in finding an appropriate rein forcer for a
particular individual. Another method simply to observe the individual in
everyday activities and note those activities engaged in most often. –David
Premack(1959)- states, opportunity to engage in a behavior that has a high
probability of occurring can be used to reinforce a behavior that has a lower
probability of occurring, e.g. W.G. Johnson(1971) used this principle on a
depressed 17 yrs college student – student was asked to imagine + thought(low-
probability) as prompted from a statement on an index card just before each
instance of urinating(high probability) after few days the student thought +
thoughts occurred only before urinating and it increased and depressive thoughts
• Choosing variety among a # of rein forcers is a valuable asset to a training
program e.g. for developmental disabilities e.g. tray contained fruits, raisins,
peanuts and diet rinks can be presented w/ instructions o take one item.
• Simple choose a behavior that the individual emits occasionally and that does not
appear to be followed by any rein forcer, record how often the behavior occurs
w/o reinforcement over several trails, +then present the item immediate following
the behavior for a few additional trails and see what happens. If the individual
Begins to emit that behavior more often, then your item is indeed a rein forcer..
but in experience, not using an effective rein forcer is a common error of training
programs. (an object is defined as a reinforcer only by its affect on behavior).
• All rein forcers involve external(extrinsic stimuli) and all have internal (intrinsic)
• 3)Motivating Operations- Rein forcers will not be effective if the individuals not
deprived of them for some period of time. Satiation on the other hand refers to
that condition in which the individuals has experienced the rein forcer to such an
extent that it is no longer reinforcing ; “Enough, enough”!
• Deprivation and satiation (a) temporally alter the effectiveness of a rein forcer
(b) alter the frequency of behavior reinforced by that rein forcer, motivating
operations (MOs)e.g. feeding some1 salty food. It would momentarily increase
effectiveness of water for that person, and also would evoke behavior –asking for
a drink, turning on a tap that had previously been followed by water. An MO
might be though as a motivational variable- a variable that affects the likelihood
and direction and direction of behavior, because genetically determined not
learned that food deprivation increases the effectiveness of food as a rein forcer,
these events are called unconditioned motivating operations.
• 2 types of MOs : establishing operation- temporarily increase effectiveness of a
rein forcer. Satiation is an example of an abolishing operation because it
temporarily decreases the effectiveness of a rein forcer.
• 4) Rein forcer Size- size of a rein forcer should be sufficient to strengthen the
behavior that u want to increase. The goal is to conduct a # of trials during a
session , such as teaching basic language skills to a person w/ developmental
disability , the rein forcer in each trial should be small enough to minimize
satiation and maximize the # of reinforced trails per session.
• 5) Instruction: Make use of rules –instructions can facilitate behavior change in
many ways.1- speed up learning process, if individuals understand the
instructions, reinforcement may influence an individuals to work for delayed