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Premack Principle

The Premack principle is an observation about the effectiveness of using certain types of behavior or activities as reinforcement. According to David Premack, “Any response A will reinforce any other response B, if and only if the independent rate of A is greater than that of B” (1959, p. 219). Another way to say this is that a more preferred activity, that with a high independent rate, can be used to reinforce a less preferred activity, that with a low independent rate. Or, a high-probability event can be used to increase the frequency of a low-probability event.

The principle fits within the realm of operant conditioning, the use of a stimulus to elicit a response and the use of a consequence, or reinforcement, to increase the ...

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