The process in which a 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, cat in cage - law of effect). Getting to the food was the consequence that reinforced (strengthened) the cat"s behavior of hitting the lever with a paw. Another example from b. f skinner (rat presses the lever = responseand immediately food is presented = the consequence. The outcome is that the rat is more likely to pres the lever in the future: the occurrence of a particular behavior 2) is followed by an immediate consequence 3) that results in the strengthening of the behavior. Operant behavior: a behavior that is strengthened through the process of reinforcement. Reinforce: the consequence that strengthens an operant behavior. + when the occurrence of a behavior is reinforced it increases in frequency over time.