Reinforcement and Punishment in Our Daily Life

Reinforcement is a term in operant conditioning and behaviour analysis for the delivery of a stimulus, (immediately or shortly) after a response, that results in an increase in the future rate or probability of that response. The response strength is assessed by measuring frequency, duration, latency, accuracy, and/or persistence of the response after reinforcement stops. Experimental behaviour analysts measured the rate of behaviours as a primary demonstration of learning and performance with non-humans.

For example, rate is measured as the number of times a pigeon pecks a key in a 10 minute session. Reinforcement is the stimulus, event, or situation whose presentation is dependent upon a response. B. F. Skinner, the researcher who articulated the major theoretical constructs of reinforcement and behaviourism, defined reinforcement according to the change in response strength rather than to more subjective criteria, such as what is pleasurable or valuable to someone. Accordingly, activities, foods or items considered pleasant or enjoyable may not necessarily be reinforcing (because they produce no increase in the response preceding them).

Stimuli, settings, and activities only fit the definition of reinforcement if the behaviour that immediately precedes the potential reinforcement increases in similar situations in the future. For example child who receives a cookie when he or she asks for one. If the frequency of ‘cookie-requesting behaviour’ increases, the cookie can be seen as reinforcing ‘cookie-requesting behaviour’. If however, ‘cookie-requesting behaviour’ does not increase, the cookie cannot be considered reinforcing.

Reinforcement theory is one of the motivation theories; it states that reinforced behaviour will be repeated, and behaviour that is not reinforced is less likely to be repeated. The sole criterion that determines if an item, activity, or food is reinforcing is the change in probability of behaviour after administration of that potential reinforcement. Other theories may focus on additional factors such as whether the person expected the strategy to work at some point, but in the behavioural theory, reinforcement is descriptive of an increased probability of a response. Primary reinforcement

A primary reinforcement, sometimes called an unconditioned reinforcement, is a stimulus that does not require pairing to function as reinforcement and most likely has obtained this function through the evolution and its role in species’ survival. Examples of primary reinforcement include sleep, food, air, water, and sex. Other primary reinforcement, such as certain drugs, may mimic the effects of other primary reinforcement. While this primary reinforcement is fairly stable through life and across individuals, the reinforcing value of different primary reinforcement varies due to multiple factors (e. . , genetics, experience). Thus, one person may prefer one type of food while another abhors it. Or one person may eat lots of food while another eats very little. So even though food is a primary reinforcement for both individuals, the value of food as reinforcement differs between them. Secondary reinforcement A secondary reinforcement, sometimes called a conditioned reinforcement, is a stimulus or situation that has acquired its function as reinforcement after pairing with a stimulus that functions as reinforcement.

This stimulus may be a primary reinforcement or another conditioned reinforcement (such as money). An example of a secondary reinforcement would be the sound from a clicker, as used in clicker training. The sound of the clicker has been associated with praise or treats, and subsequently, the sound of the clicker may function as reinforcement. As with primary reinforces, an organism can experience satiation and deprivation with secondary reinforces. 3. 1 Increase of desire Positive reinforcement A positive reinforcement may be used as part of a behaviour intervention plan (BIP).

Unlike negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement are strategies used to help increase targeted behaviours in students who are experiencing academic or behavioural problems at home and school. How is Positive Reinforcement Used? Positive reinforcement helps students learn behaviours necessary to be successful academically and socially. For example, a student’s behaviour goal may be to increase the amount of time he stays on-task in class. Positive reinforcement would be used as a reward for improving over a period of time.

Positive reinforcement includes any actions, consequences, or rewards that are provided to a student and cause an increase in desired behaviour. They may include rewards and privileges that students like and enjoy. For example, a student may earn physical rewards such as school supplies, healthy snacks, or choice of free-time activities. When choosing a positive reinforcement, it is important for the IEP team to know the child well. If possible, it can be helpful to allow the child to help choose the type of positive reinforcement he would like to earn.

Examples: Positive reinforcement increase a student’s targeted behaviours. Positive reinforcement is similar to rewards, but they are also intended to increase behaviours over time. They are not just a one-time reward for good behaviour. 3. 2 Drawbacks of Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement may seem to be an ideal technique to increase certain positive behaviours. Managers may be able to motivated employees using positive reinforcement techniques. However, there can be some drawbacks. First, the use of positive reinforcement techniques may result in people becoming more extrinsically motivated.

Extrinsic motivation may undermine creativity. In Amabile’s (1985) experiment, people were asked to write two poems. Before writing the second poem, some people were given a questionnaire in which they were asked to rank the importance of some reasons for writing. In one condition, these reflected extrinsic motivation. In another condition, they reflected intrinsic motivation. In the control condition, people did not receive a questionnaire with reasons for writing. The poems in the extrinsic-orientation condition were judged to be less creative, on the average, than the poems in the control condition.

Second, the ideal employee may be one who is intrinsically motivated and does not require constant supervision. Intrinsically motivated employees may be less likely to be late. They also may be more likely to excel at their jobs. Thus, positive reinforcement techniques may not lead to ideal employees in a company. 3. 3 Effect of Positive reinforcement for children Positive Reinforcement Can Improve Your Child’s Behaviour: Using positive reinforcement is an easy way to nix behaviour problems. You can use positive reinforcement can help you encourage your child to do everyday tasks you need her to perform.

Turning off an annoying song when a child asks their parent is an example of negative reinforcement (if this results in an increase in asking behaviour of the child in the future). Another example is if a mouse presses a button to avoid shock. Do not confuse this concept with punishment. There are two variations of negative reinforcement: oAvoidance conditioning occurs when behaviour prevents an aversive stimulus from starting or being applied. oEscape conditioning occurs when behaviour removes an aversive stimulus that has already started. A lot of students are confused about negative reinforcement.

What’s the difference between that and punishment? Perhaps some examples of negative reinforcement would be helpful (remember, it’s “reinforcement” so the behavior increases, and because its “negative,” the reinforcement is removed after the response). Negative Reinforcement strengthens behaviour because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behaviour. Punishment, on the other hand, weakens behaviour because a negative condition is introduced or experienced as a consequence of the behaviour. Here are two examples of Negative Reinforcement: 1.

A rat is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses a bar and the shock stops. The rat receives another shock, presses the bar again, and again the shock stops. The rat’s behaviour of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping of the shock. 2. Driving in heavy traffic is a negative condition for most of us. You leave home earlier than usual one morning, and don’t run into heavy traffic. You leave home earlier again the next morning and again you avoid heavy traffic.