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Premack Principle

  • By: Rachael Elizabeth Kroening & Kerri Lynn Kim
  • In: Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology
  • Edited by: Neil J. Salkind
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), Educational Psychology, School Psychology

B. F. Skinner developed the operant conditioning learning framework to explain how organisms work to receive rewards and avoid punishment. Skinner also noted, via the results of animal experiments, that behaviors could be changed in relation to the consequences paired with the behaviors. Specifically, behaviors are responded to in one of two ways: reinforcement or punishment. Unlike punishment, which aims to decrease the frequency of a behavior, reinforcement seeks to increase the desired behavior's frequency. Positive reinforcement occurs when a pleasant stimulus is added following the occurrence of a behavior, such as giving a treat to a dog every time it successfully follows a command to sit. Negative reinforcement occurs when an aversive stimulus is removed following the occurrence of a behavior, such as when ...

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