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Chapter 4


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Zachariah Campbell

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CHAPTER FOUR – Reinforcement Definition: Reinforcement is the process in which a behaviour is strengthened by the immediate consequence that reliably follows its occurrence Physical environment is way more predictable – flicking light on and off has an expected result. Social environment is not predictable – asking someone else to flick the light on and off might have different results. REMEMBER ABC – Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence  Every situation, experiment, study can be broken down into this. If you can’t, you’re not studying an observable behaviour. Heads up: The terms reinforcement and positive reinforcement are often used interchangeably. Definitions Operant behaviors are those that operate on the environment to generate consequences, and are in turn influenced by those consequences. Reinforcers are those consequences that strengthen an operant behaviour – this will vary from person to person. Not everyone will respond to the same stimulus. Example 1: In this example, reinforcement is used with 6-year-old child to reduce her uncooperative behaviour For this case, attention was probably used as the reinforcer – children that are acting disruptive will respond to attention. After the child got their reinforcer, their cooperative behaviour went up. Example 2: Social reinforcement of rational talk in four patients with schizophrenia The patients were engaging in non- rational speech. The reinforcer was that the patients only got attention when they were speaking rationally. Once the reinforcer was introduced, there was more rational speech. Example 3: Reinforcement of students’ study behaviour This is a reversal – there were two interventions. What is the difference between positive and negative reinforcement? Important Note Stimulus: any object/event that can be detected by any of the five senses & has the potential to influence behaviour  Positive  Aversive Positive reinforcement: a stimulus is added to influence a consequence – attention given, for example Negative reinforcement: a stimulus is taken away – the TV is turned down Negative Reinforcement is not the same as Punishment Reinforcement Types  Social  Automatic o Physical – inanimate objects Escape and Behaviour Escape behaviour: Occurs when an Aversive Stimulus already present  Letting go of a hot pan Avoidance behaviour: Occurs when another stimulus precedes the aversive stimulus – this is where we have learnt from the escape situation  Putting on oven mitt before touching hot pan Unconditioned Reinforcers Natural reinforcing stimuli  Survival value – these are the ones that you are born with, that you know you need (food, water, temperature etc.) Positive type Negative type  Virtually any form of pain or discomfort or extreme levels of stimulation o Headaches, muscle pain etc. Conditioned Reinforcers Neutral stimulus that does not inherently reinforce behaviour but… Other terminology  Primary reinforcers – these are unconditioned  Secondary reinforcers – this is where you get previous unrelated stuff to become conditioned reinforcers o Money is a good one Generalized Conditioned Reinforcers Those conditioned reinforcers that are paired with many reinforcers  Example: clothing; praise; attention; giftcards Effectiveness of reinforcement Immediacy (latency)  Getting paid right away after working instead of once a month. This leads to a person working harder to get their money once they’re done. Contingency – consistent application of the consequence (this makes it more effective) Establishing operations – understanding what may or may not motivate someone Individual differences – everyone is different. Never assume how someone will react Magnitude – the larger the reward, the more likely the behaviour will be strengthened Schedules of Reinforcement Specifies which/when responses will be followed by a reinforcer Continuous reinforcement: each and every instance of the target behaviour, it is rewarded Intermittent reinforcement: behaviour is not rewarded right away Types of Intermittent Reinforcement  Fixed Ratio o Reinforcer after X number of responses - the number does not change  Variable Ratio o Reinforcer delivered after an average of X responses o Produces high & steady rate of behavior  Fixed Interval o Reinforcer delivered after fixed interval of time o Produces low rate of behaviour with on-off pattern  Variable Interval o Reinforcer for the first response after X variable amount of time (based on an average) o Produces low but steady rate of behavior Notation (e.g., FR 10, VI 20-minute): these are just initials for the processes – FR 10 = Fixed ratio, happens every tenth instance. VI 20-minute = on aprox. average of twenty minutes Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement: Schedules of reinforcement that exist at the same time for two or more different behaviors Factors influencing choice of concurrent operants:  schedule of reinforcement  magnitude of reinforcement o How awesome is the reward  immediacy of reinforcement o If the reinforcement is immediate, that behaviour will be chosen over the other  response effort o How much effort does it take to do one behaviour over the other? CHAPTER FIVE – Extinction Extinction  Basic principle of behavior  Supported by years of basic & applied research  Component of many behavior modification procedures o Opposite of conditioning Definition: When a response (previously reinforced) is not followed by reinforcement, person is less likely to engage in behaviour again Example 1: Willy  54-year-old male  Mild mental retardation  New
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