Chapter 5: Reinforcement: Positive and Negative
1980: Edward Thorndike Study, he had 13 cats and 3 dogs in which were placed in boxes, with a tiny
escape door where they would exit if they were hungry. Food was placed outside so that they could see
and smell. By observing the animal’s actions, he found that cats were likely to escape confinement than to
get food and their behaviors differ from that of dogs.
- pattern of trials and errors across trials: each time the animals escapes, it gradually reduced in time. And
each time they were put back into the boxes, they would not run and escape immediately. It was only
done so through certain activities. This than led to the law of effect: satisfying consequences, such as
rewards of escapes from unpleasant circumstances, strengthen stimulus-response connections gradually in
the process of learning. You also see the same thing with Skinner, where rats were places in a skinner box
and were given food if they pressed the lever.
Reinforcement: reinforce means to strengthen, increase or make pronounced. However, it is simply to
refer to the process in which consequences of behaviour strengthens the behaviour making it more likely
to occur in the future.
- the consequences occur if the behaviour occurs. The object or event that serves as the consequences in
the reinforcement is known as the reinforcer: a stimulus that is introduced or changed when the behaviour
occurs (latency, frequency, duration and magnitude).
- reinforcer is something that is pleasant and satisf