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Chapter 4

PSYB45 Chapter 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Zachariah Campbell

Chapter 4 Reinforcement Reinforcement: is the process in which behaviour is strengthened by the immediate consequence that reliably follows its occurrence  Thorndike experiment with the cat placed in a cage, each time the cat hit the lever with its paw and immediately the door opens and food is available, therefore the cat is more likely to hit the lever in the future  B.F. Skinner experiment with rats, the rat presses the lever of the cage and immediately food is presented, therefore the rat is more likely to press the lever in the future. Reinforcement is defined as: 1. The occurrence of a particular behaviour 2. Is followed by an immediate consequence 3. That results in the strengthening of the behaviour Operant behaviour: a behaviour that is strengthened (increase in frequency, duration, intensity, and spend) through the process of reinforcement, it acts on the environment to produce a consequence and in turn occurs in the future as a result of its immediate consequence *note speed means decreased latency Positive Reinforcement Negative Reinforcement The occurrence of a behaviour The occurrence of a behaviour Is followed by the addition of a stimulus, or in Is followed by the removal of a stimulus or increase in the intensity of a stimulus decrease in the intensity of a stimulus results in the strengthening of the behaviour results in the strengthening of the behaviour Stimulus: is an object or event that can be detected by one of the senses and thus has the potential to influence the person Positive reinforcer-something pleasant, desirable or valuable that the person will try to get Negative reinforcer-is the stimulus that is being removed or avoided and is called aversive stimulus, something unpleasant, painful, or annoying that the person will try to get away from or avoid *Note that in both above cases the behaviour is more likely to occur in the future An example of that would be that a child tantrums and wants candy and then the mother buys him candy, the behaviour of the mother buying him candy is an aversive stimulus which results in the termination of the child’s tantrum. On the other hand, when the child tantrums he gets a candy and this is positively reinforced. Thus, this example is an example of positive reinforcement  Not all reinforcers work in the same for all people, for instance, some children find praise and attention from teachers to be highly reinforcing, while other esp those with autism will not find teacher’s attention as a reinforce. In short, not all reinforcers will have the same effect on the target behaviour. Social reinforcement: is the process by which a behaviour produces a reinforcing consequences through the action of another person o Social positive reinforcement would be asking your roommate to bring you a bag of chips o Social negative reinforcement would be asking your room mate to turn down the TV because it is too loud Automatic reinforcement: is the process by which a behaviour produces a reinforcing consequences through the direct contact with the physical environment (by you) o Automatic positive reinforcement would be you going to kitchen and getting the chips for yourself o Automatic negative reinforcement would be you getting the remote and turning down the TV for yourself Premark Principle: is one type of positive reinforcement which involves the opportunity to engage in high-probability behaviour (a preferred one) as a consequence for a low probability behaviour. E.g when parents require their fourth grade son to complete his homework before he goes out to play, the opportunity to play (a high-probability behaviour) after the completion of the homework (a low- probability behaviour) reinforces the behaviour of doing homework Escape behaviour: the occurrence of the behaviour results in the termination of an aversive stimulus that was already present when the behaviour occurred-the person escapes from the aversive stimulus by engaging in a particular behaviour and the behaviour is strengthened Avoidance behaviour: the occurrence of the behaviour prevents an aversive stimulus from occurring- the person avoids the aversive stimulus by engaging in a particular behaviour and that behaviour is strengthened Example: a rat in placed in a chamber separated by a barrier when an electric shock is presented to the right side, the rat can escape to the left side and vice-versa ....escape When a tone is presented just before the shock, the rats learns to avoid the shock by jumping to the other side of the chamber ....avoidance Conditioned (secondary) reinforcer: is a stimulus that was once neutral but became established as a reinforcer by being paired with another unconditioned reinforce or an already established conditioned reinforce, e.g parent’s attention is a conditioned reinforcer since it is paired with the delivery of food, warmth. Also, money is a conditioned reinforce since it is paired with a variety of other conditioned and unconditioned reinforcers Unconditioned (primary) reinforce: is a natural reinforce and they function as reinforcers the first time they are presented to most human beings, no prior experience is needed for them to function as reinforcers, e.g food, water, sexual stimulation are natural reinforcers that contribute to the survival of the individual as well as escaping from painful situations or extreme levels of stimulation *any stimulus may become a conditioned reinforce if it is paired with an existing reinforce!!!! Tokens are used as a conditioned reinforce to modify human behaviour in a token reinforcement program , the person will get token for desirable behaviours and the tokens are then exchanged for other reinforcers (backup reinforcers) Generalized conditioned reinforce: is the situation when a conditioned reinforce is paired with a wide variety of other reinforcers e.g money and it is less likely to diminish in value or to become satiated and that’s one characteristic of GCR, also tokens and praise Factors that influence the effectiveness of reinforcement 1. Immediacy –the time between the occurrence of a behaviour and the
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