Chapter 6 Extinction
I. What is Operant Extinction?
-- Extinction usually has two meanings:
1) A procedure or condition in which a previously reinforced response no longer receives
2) A process whereby the rate and force in performing the no-longer-reinforced response
-- Extinction can occur as a haphazard condition in everyday life or as a careful and
deliberate procedure in an intervention.
-- Extinction can apply to behaviours that have received either positive or negative
1) Extinction for positive reinforcement
->Making sure the rewards are no longer provided
E.g.: Bob and the digital reversals
2) Extinction for negative reinforcement
->Preventing the individual from escaping or avoiding the unpleasant situation.
II. The Process and Characteristics of Extinction
Two usual problems of the extinction:
Extinction burst: when reinforcement fails to occur, the response often increases
temporarily in its frequency and magnitude -> result from frustration
Aggression: Extinction often increases the target person’s aggression and other
Two ways to reduce the two problems above:
Competing response: an action that is incompatible or interferes with performance
of target behaviour.
Alternative behaviour: take the place of the target behaviour as a desirable act, but
the two actions aren’t necessarily incompatible and could occur together.
Gradual decline & reappearance of the behaviour
1) The behaviour tends to decline gradually or irregularly rather than immediately and
2) An extinguished behaviour can reappear temporarily, even though reinforcement is
not given for the behaviour.
Can occur in more than one way:
1. Placing another behaviour on extinction
2. The antecedents that were present with the behaviour had been reinforced in the
past are present again.
Renewal: the main factor is the context in which conditioning and extinction occur.
Reinstatement: the main factor leading to the reappearance of the extinguished
behaviour is that, without performing the behaviour III. What Factors Affect Extinction Effectiveness?
When any of these conditions is less than ideal in an extinction program, the
behaviour will show more resistance to extinction – or take longer to extinguish
Knowing & controlling all relevant reinforcers
To conduct extinction very effectively, we must know that all of the reinforcers are
that maintain the behaviour and then stop them all.
Past pattern of reinforcement
·Continuous reinforcement vs. Intermittent reinforcement
·In general, a behaviour received intermittent reinforcement show more resistance to
·The reinforcement history of a behaviour can also affect its resistance to extinction
in two other ways:
1) The more times the behaviour was reinforced in the past, the longer it is likely
to take to become extinguished
2) The greater the reward value of the reinforcers the behaviour produced in the
past, the longer it is likely to be extinguished
Combining extinction with reinforcing other actions
Another benefit to reinforcing other actions while extinguishing a target behavior:
we can increase the effectiveness of the extinction procedure.
Instruction in the new contingencies
People’s behaviour often extinguishes faster when they are told their responses will
no longer be reinforced than when reinforcement simply ceases to appear.
E.g.: teacher asks the students to answer questions in a specific time Chapter 7 Punishment
I. Defining punishment
-- Punishment is a process whereby a consequence of a behavior suppresses that behaviour,
decreasing its frequency, duration or magnitude.
-- If we are going to define punishers as “consequences people find unpleasant”, we must
be sure to assess the unpleasantness from the viewpoint of the person who will receive
these consequences, not our point of view
-> Two other reasons:
1) If the consequences were applied poorly, their effects may have been weakened.
2) Scolding & spanking may be punishers for Brain, but the reinforcement he gets from
making noise may be much stronger than the punishment being applied.
-- Natural and programmed punishment
Natural punishers are consequences that decrease a behavior, happen spontaneously as
a normal part of everyday life, and are not planned and given systematically to affect the
Programmed punishers are consequences that are planned and are used systematically
with the goal of decreasing a behavior
-- Positive and negative punishment
Positive punishment: an aversive stimulus or condition is added as a consequence of the
Negative punishment: a stimulus or condition the person already has at the time the
behavior occurs is subtracted as a consequence of performing the behaviour
-- Unconditioned and conditioned punishment
Unconditioned punishers: typically decrease behaviour on which they are contingent
even though they were not learned to function that way.
Conditioned punishers are stimuli that did not have the ability to suppress behaviour
until they developed this function as a result of learning.
II. Types of punishing events
1) Physically aversive stimuli
Events that cause physical pain, discomfort, or other unpleasant sensations – mainl