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Preference and Reinforcer Identification

Overview

Positive reinforcement is a technical term for a condition in which a target response increases because a preferred stimulus, such as a favorite toy, has been presented following that response. It is similar to the less technical term reward; however, rewards do not always increase behavior, whereas positive reinforcers, by definition, do. Positive reinforcement–based procedures are a commonly used component of many behavior modification programs, particularly those used to teach skills to students with developmental disabilities. One important aspect of reinforcementbased procedures is the provision of a preferred stimulus after the targeted response occurs. Thus, it is important that the stimulus being presented is one that the individual prefers.

Despite the importance of using items that are highly preferred, it is often ...

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