Behavior Modification Research Paper

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, B. F. Skinner Pages: 9 (1773 words) Published: June 8, 2014
Reinforcing positive behavior is critical in many aspects. It helps parents, school teachers and managers seek positive behavioral responses from the subject whether it’s a child, adult or even an employee. “Reinforcement was first studied by Thorndike (1911), who illustrated that reinforcement is a process where the behavior is increased by the immediate consequence that follows. Thorndike placed a hungry cat in a cage and food outside the cage and the cat eventually learned to press the lever again and again to gain access to the food that was placed outside the cage. Thorndike called this “Law of Effect”, simply, because the cage-cat illustration showed how the animal learned (stimulus-response) through operant conditioning” (Thorndike 1911). Reinforcement can be either positive or negative (Miltenberger, 2011). Both have their own merits and demerits. Positive reinforcement is often considered as more desirable, especially, since the negative reinforcement cannot be sustained for too long and also it has chances of revoking resistance. Positive reinforcement through both primary and secondary methods helps win the respect and loyalty of the subject most of the times. Sustainable reinforcement is a mixture of the two types: positive and negative. For personal behavioral modification, people mostly choose to get positive stimuli. They do not like to be hurt or punished in order to perform a task. Likewise, I also chose the positive methods and would prefer that I am given appreciation at home, school and/or my workplace because that will help me to demonstrate increased productivity, dedication and commitment and it will also reduce the level of stress. These positive factors of reinforcement may include improving the work environment, improving timings and/or offering conveyance services.

Behaviors are equally important at work as well as in our social lives. This is because positive behavior is connected to good performance and impact, and, negative behavior is connected to negative impact. During evaluation periods, employers review positive behavior from their employees and they focus on both positive and negative behavioral types when they looking to hire new employees. Behavior is a response that can be reinforced. Reinforcement concept of psychology helps find what reinforces positive behavior and which activities reinforce negative behavior. There are both positive and negative reinforces and there are benefits and consequences for both behavior type. In the workplace, the Manager is not only required to find the factors that help in reinforcing positive behavior, but, also to assess the comparative success of these factors in different work and home environments as well. A detailed analysis of reinforcement literature will assist in effectively modifying the behavior. Literature Review

B.F. Skinner used the reinforcement theory to positively encourage the mouse to find a way out and get cheese and today, Managers make use of reinforcement theories to motivate employees. Reinforcing positive behavior allows the managers to determine what can be expected from their employee(s). Daymut (2009) says that positive reinforcement helps in homes, schools, offices and almost anywhere. Reinforcement is supportive in increasing the chances of certain behavioral response. The probability of behavior can be increased by increasing the stimulus to which the individual or employee responds. The primary reinforcers are physical stimuli and the appreciation and non-monetary rewards are the secondary reinforcing agents. Punishment serves as negative reinforcers while gratitude serves as positive reinforcers. People are inclined to different reinforcing factors based on their personality-type, the kind of environment they were brought up in and the things that are inculcated into their minds. The pleasure-pain principle suggests that some people are motivated better when they find pleasure in...

References: 1. Miltenberger, R.G., (2011). Behavior Modification: Principles and Procedures. 5th Ed.
2. Thorndike, E.L. (1911). Animal Intelligence: Experimental Studies. NewYork:Macmillan
3. Cosgrave, G., (2007), “Negative Reinforcement”, Retrieved from:
4. Daymut, J. A., (2009), “Positive Reinforcement: A Behavior-Management Strategy”, Retrieved from:
5. DeLeon, I. G., Neidert, P. L., Anders, B. M., Rodriguez, C. V., (2001), “Choices between positive and negative reinforcement during treatment for escape-maintained behaviour”, Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 34(4):521-525
6. Tuten, L. M., Jones, H. E., Schaeffer, C. M., Stitzer, M. L., (2014), “Reinforcement-Based Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: A Comprehensive Behavioural Approach”, ISBN: 978-1-4338-1024-4
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