Fact Sheet on Positive Reinforcement

Fact Sheet on Positive Reinforcement
1. What is Positive Reinforcement?
a. Positive reinforcement is the presentation of a stimulus immediately following a
desired response which will hopefully increase its chances of happening again.
b. The stimulus can be any positive reinforcer.
2. What is a Positive Reinforcer?
a. A positive reinforce is anything that will increase the likelihood of the
student/child performing the desired behavior. It really depends on the child, but
some examples of positive reinforcers include:
i. Candy or other small amounts of food or liquid (not a whole cheeseburger)
ii. Five extra minutes on the computer
iii. His favorite stickers or toy(s)
iv. Small snippets of his favorite song/YouTube video on the Ipad
b. Allow the student to choose his reinforcer. If it’s something that he desires, then
he is more than likely willing to “work” (complete tasks) for it.
c. When you first start out, each time the student performs the desired task,
immediately give the reinforcer; this helps the student associate the two together
and will increase the frequency of the behavior that you want. Then, gradually
start weaning from every single time he completes the task to three… then five…
then seven, etc…
3. Two Types of Reinforcers
a. Primary reinforcers
i. Primary reinforcers are the primal, essential needs of every human being
(food, liquid, sleep, shelter, and sex)
ii. The two most common reinforcers in the classroom are food and liquid
iii. Used mostly for young children learning new behaviors and students with
severe disabilities
iv. Deprivation and Satiation
b. Secondary Reinforcers
i. Secondary reinforcers include social stimuli such as praise, engaging in
preferred activities, and tangibles like toys and stickers
ii. Do not have biological importance
iii. Must be learned or conditioned
iv. Premack Principle
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