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Chapter 4

PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Predicable, Reinforcement, Avoidant Personality Disorder

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 4 Reinforcement
Reinforcement: is process in which behavior is strengthened by immediate
Consequence: the stimulus or event occurring immediately after a behaviour
When behavior is strengthened, more likely to occur again in future
Thorndike’s demonstration of reinforcement:
oPlaced hungry cat in cage and put food outside cage where cat could see
oDoor opens if cat hits a lever
oEach time, it took less time for cat to get food. Each time, the cat was more
likely to hit the lever with its paw because this behaviour had an immediate
oCalled this law of effect
B.F. Skinner
oConducted studies on principles of reinforcement in lab animals like rats
and pigeons
oPlaced an animal in an experimental chamber and delivered a pellet of food
when a lever located on one of the walls of the chamber
oEach time the rat pressed the lever, it received a pellet of food
oRat was ore likely to press the lever each time it was placed in the chamber
When behavior results in favorable outcome, behavior is more likely to be
repeated in future in similar circumstances
Sulzer-Azaroff and Mayer: reinforcement may occur naturally, as result of our
day-to-day interactions with our social and physical environment
Reinforcement is defined as
1. Occurrence of particular behavior
2. Followed by immediate consequence
3. That results in strengthening of behavior
A behaviour is strengthened when there is an increase in its frequency, duration,
intensity, or speed (decreased latency)
Operant behavior: behavior that is strengthened through process of
OB acts on environment to produce consequence and is controlled by, or occurs
again in the future as result of immediate consequence
Reinforcer: consequence that strengthens operant behavior
Liberman: Measured duration of rational talk during conversations with nurses
oWanted to reinforce rational talk so that it would increase, and

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schizophrenic patients would appear more normal
oUsed a multiple-baseline-across-subjects design
Positive & Negative Reinforcement
Both positive and negative reinforcement increase the probability that the behaviour will
occur in the future.
Positive and negative reinforcement are distinguished only by the nature of the
oPositive reinforcement
1. Occurrence of a behavior
2. Is followed by addition of stimulus (reinforcer) or an increase in
intensity of stimulus
3. Which results in strengthening of behavior
oNegative reinforcement
1. Occurrence of behavior
2. Is followed by removal of stimulus (aversive stimulus) or decrease
in intensity of stimulus
3. Results in strengthening of behavior
Stimulus: object or event that can be detected by one of sense, and has potential to
influence person
Object or event may be feature of physical environment or social environment
Positive reinforcer: in positive reinforcement, stimulus that is presented or that
appears after behavior
Aversive stimulus: in negative reinforcement, stimulus that is removed or avoided
after behavior
Essential difference is that
oIn positive reinforcement, response produces a stimulus (positive
oIn negative reinforcement, response removes or prevents occurrence of
stimulus (aversive stimulus)
Negative reinforcement increases or strengthens behavior whereas, punishment
decreases or weakens behavior
Positive and negative reinforcements have same impact on behavior – they
strengthen it
Functional definition of reinforcement  the consequence of a behaviour increases
the probability that the behaviour will occur again in the future.
To determine whether a particular consequence will be a reinforce for a particular
person, you have to try it out and measure its effect on the behaviour
Social Vs. Automatic Reinforcement
For both positive and negative reinforcement, behavior may produce consequence
through actions of another person (social reinforcement) or through direct contact
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