Reinforcement and Punishment in Our Daily Life

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Punishment Pages: 12 (3945 words) Published: June 29, 2011
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.g., 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...
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