Chapter 4

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Published on 24 Feb 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB45H3
Chapter 4
Reinforcement
Reinforcement the process in which behavior is strengthened by
the immediate consequence that reliably follows its occurrence
When a behavior is strengthened, it is more likely to occur again in the
future
Thorndike (1911) law of effect; cat in cage cat is more likely to hit
the lever because this behavior had resulted in an immediate
consequence
Defining Reinforcement
When a behavior results in a favorable outcome, the behavior is more
likely to be repeated in the future in similar consequences
Reinforcement is:
oThe occurrence of a particular behavior
oIs followed by an immediate consequence
oThat follows in the strengthening of behavior (person is more
likely to engage in the behavior again in the future)
Operant behavior a behavior that is strengthened through the
process of reinforcement; acts on the environment to produce a
consequence and is controlled by or occurs again in the future as a
result of its immediate consequence
Reinforcer the consequence that strengthens an operant behavior
Frequency, duration and intensity of behavior may increase as a
function of reinforcement
*Table 4-1 (pg.76)
Positive and Negative Reinforcement
Both strengthen behavior increase probability that the behavior will
occur in the future
Positive reinforcement:
oThe occurrence of behavior followed by the addition of a
stimulus (a reinforcer) or an increase in the intensity of a
stimulus
Negative reinforcement:
oThe occurrence of behavior followed by the removal of a stimulus
(an aversive stimulus) or a decrease in the intensity of the
stimulus
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Stimulus object or event that can be detected by one of the senses,
and thus has the potential to influence the person; social or physical
Positive reinforcer stimulus that is presented or that appears after
the behavior
Aversive stimulus stimulus that is removed or avoided after the
behavior; prevention of stimulus
Punishment, in contrast to reinforcement, decreases a behavior
Functional definition of reinforcement the consequence of a behavior
increases the probability that the behavior will occur again in the
future
Social versus Automatic Reinforcement
oSocial reinforcement when a behavior produces a
reinforcing consequence through the actions of another person
oAutomatic reinforcement when the behavior produces a
reinforcing consequence through direct contact with the physical
environment
oPremack principle one type of positive reinforcement
involves the opportunity to engage in a high-probability
behavior (a preferred behavior) as a consequence for a low-
probability behavior (a less-preferred behavior), to increase the
low-probability behavior
Escape and Avoidance Behaviors
Escape behavior occurrence of behavior results in the termination
of an aversive stimulus that was already present when the behavior
occurred
Avoidance behavior occurrence of behavior prevents the
presentation of an aversive stimulus; often a warning stimulus
involved
Both types of negative reinforcement
Conditioned and Unconditioned Reinforcers
Unconditioned reinforcers function as reinforcers for the first
time they are presented to most human beings; no prior experience
with these stimuli is needed for them to function as reinforcers; have
biological importance
Conditioned reinforcers (token) stimulus that was once neutral
but became established as a reinforcer by being paired with an
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