CHAPTER 4 REINFORCEMENT
-is a process in which a behavior is strengthened by the immediate consequence that reliably follows its
-When a behaviour is strengthened, it is more likely to occur again in the future.
-Earliest demo by Thorndike.
Thorndike placed a hungry cat in a cage and placed food outside of the cage where the cat could see it.
He rigged the cage so that the door would open if the cat pressed the lever with its paw.
Each time the cat was placed inside the cage, it took less time for the cat to hit the lever till the cat hit
the lever as soon as the cat was placed in the cage.
-Thorndike called this : law of effect
The cat was more likely to hit the lever because the behaviour resulted in an immediate consequence:
escaping the cage and getting food.
Getting to the food was the consequence that reinforced or strengthened the cats behaviour.
B.F. Skinner conducted many studies on the principle of reinforcement with rats and pigeons
Skinner placed each animal in a chamber and delivered a pellet of food each time the rat pressed the
lever with its paws. Thus, the rat was more likely to press the lever each time it was placed in the
chamber. This behaviour of pressing the lever was strengthened because when it occurred it was
immediately followed by the receipt of food.
The behaviour of pressing the lever increased in frequency relative to all behaviours the rat exhibited
when placed in the chamber.
~ Defining Reinforcement~
Reinforcement is also a natural process that also influences humanbehvaiour.
It can occur naturally as a result of our day-to-day interactions with our social and physical environment
or it may be planned as a behaviour mod program used to change a person’s behaviour.
1)the occurrence of a particular behaviour
2) is followed by immediate cosneuqence
3) that result sin the strengthening of the behaviour.—the person is more likely to engage in the
behaviour again in the future
A behaviour is strengthened if there is an increase un its frequency, duration, intensity or speed.
A behaviour that is strengthened through the process of reinforcement is called an operant behaviour.
An operant behaviour acts on the environment to produce a consequence and is controlled or occurs in
the future because of its immediate consequence.
The consequence that strengthens an operant behaviour is called a reinforcer.
The frequency of the behaviour is low during the baseline and higher during the reinforcement phase.
When the occurrence of a behaviour is reinforced, it increases in frequency over time. Other dimensions
of a behaviour may also increase as a function of reinforcement
Reinforce behaviour , not people!!! ~Positive and Negative Reinforcement~
There are two types of reinforcement:
Both +ve and –ve are processes that strengthen a behaviour, they both increase the probability that the
behaviour will occur in the future.
Positive and negative reinforcement are distinguished by the nature of the consequence that follows
1. The occurrence of a behaviour
2. Is followed by addition of a stimulus (a reinforce) or an increase in the intensity of a stimuls
3. Results in the strengthening of the behaviour
a. The occurrence of a behaviour
b. Followed by the removal of a stimulus (an aversive stimulus) or decrease in the intensity of a
c. Results in strengthening of the stimulus
A stimulus is an object or event that can detected by one of the senses and has the potential to
influence the person
The object or event may be a feature of the physical environment or the social environment.
In +ve refmentm the stimulus that is presented that appears after the behaviour called a positive