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Behavior Modification: The Proper Application of Reinforcement - Essay Example

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The notion of positive reinforcement as a behavior modification technique has a long history and a wide variety of applications. People teach their dogs to sit and roll over by rewarding them with food when they perform the desired behavior correctly. It has also been applied in classrooms where students have learning disabilities…
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Behavior Modification: The Proper Application of Reinforcement
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Behavior Modification: The Proper Application of Reinforcement

As an initial matter, it is important to define what is meant by reinforcement. The basic concept involves a change in an organism's surroundings that happens regularly when the organism responds in a given manner and which is known to increase the probability that the given response will be performed (Reinforcement, 2005: np). These surrounding variables are controlled or managed in order to study the effects of a particular type of reinforcement. It is not the organism which is being reinforced; instead it is the behavior which is the subject of the reinforcement, also known as operant conditioning (Michaels, 1975: 13). An early and authoritative statement defining reinforcement posited that,
example, food, water, sexual contact - to the situation. These we call positive reinforcers. Others consist of removing something - for example, a loud noise, a very bright light, extreme cold or heat, or electric shock - from the situation. These we call negative reinforcers. In both cases the effect of reinforcement is the same - the probability of response is increased. (Skinner, 1953: 73).
The most significant question is how to modify behavior by using reinforcement properly. ... Read More
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