Positive Reinforcement

Description of the Strategy

A positive reinforcer is a stimulus (e.g., item, event, experience) the presentation of which, or contact with which, increases the probability of (i.e., strengthens) responses that produce the presentation or contact. Positive reinforcement (PR) is the descriptive label for the relationship between the stimulus, the presentation or contact, and the change in probability. The increase in probability (or strengthening) that defines reinforcement refers to measurable changes in the dimensions of behavior (e.g., rate, duration, magnitude). PR is a ubiquitous phenomenon, and examples of positively reinforced behavior abound on every scale of human (and infrahuman) existence. Some small-scale examples include button pressing that produces desired results (e.g., elevator arrives), work that produces wages, study that produces high grades, comportment ...

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