Reinforcement

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  • A term introduced by B. F. Skinner in the context of his theory of behaviorism and, specifically, operant conditioning. According to Skinner, a reinforcer is an event that follows a response and subsequently affects the likelihood of the response's reoccurrence. The two main types of reinforcement are referred to as positive and negative. Positive reinforcement consists of adding a stimulus after a behavior and is intended to increase the probability of continual engagement in the behavior, such as giving a rat a pellet after pressing a bar. Negative reinforcement consists of removing an aversive stimulus and is also intended to increase the probability of continual engagement in behaviors such as removing a shock after a rat presses a bar. For more information, see Cameron and ...

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