Eating an extra dessert is immediately reinforced by the good taste.
Although the negative effects (excess cholesterol, etc.) of the extra dessert
immediate, they are too small to be noticed.
Rather, it is the accumulation of extra dessert on many occasions that causes a
Another example is , problem of smoking. The immediate mediate
consequences of smoking (nicotine effects, etc) are positive for smokers. And
although there are immediate negative effects (additional tar deposited on the
smoker’s lungs) the harmful outcomes from a single cigarette are too small to
counteract the enjoyment of smoking.
It is the accumulation of the effects of hundreds of cigarettes that results in
shortness of breath, sore throat, coughing
Thus, for many self control problems, the immediate reinforcement for
consumption of harmful substances (nicotine, cholesterol etc.) wins out over
the unnoticeable immediate negative effects that are only cumulatively
Immediate Reinforcers (for Problem Behavior) Versus Delayed Reinforcers (for
Alternative Desirable Behavior)
For self control problems involving a choice between two alternative
behaviors, both of which results in positive outcomes, the one that produces
the immediate reinforcer frequently wins out.
Problems of Behavior Deficiencies
Another type of self control problem consists of responses that need to be
increased- such as flossing your teeth, taking good lecture notes and
Such behaviors usually lead to small, immediate punishers. And even though
there may be positive outcomes if the behavior occur, or major negative
outcomes if the behavior don’t occur, both of these outcomes are often
Immediate Small Punisher for a behavior versus Reinforcers That are