Reinforcement (doc)

Reinforcer – anything (person, object, event) that follows a behavior and
increases or maintains that behavior.
Four things to know about reinforcement:
1. Appropriateness
Size of reinforcer – needs to be large enough to be effective. Also, must be
within the limits of what is available, reasonable, and must be reinforcing to
the individual.
Deprivation – the more deprived a person is of a reinforcer, the more
effective it will be.
Satiation - If reinforcer is given too often, it will lose its effectiveness.
2. Contingency – reinforcer is given only when the desired behavior has
3. Consistency – always reward appropriate behavior. Praise should always
be specific to the behavior (e.g., good sitting).
4. Immediacy – the more quickly a reinforcer is given, the more effective it will
be. Also, other undesirable behaviors will not be reinforced. Within 5
seconds is ideal.
POSITIVE PROGRAMMING PROCEDURES (Alternatives to punishment)
Premack Principle – access to highly probable behaviors contingent upon the
occurrence of low probability behaviors.
Example – “When you sit quietly (low probability behavior), you may
talk with John (highly probability behavior).”
Differential Reinforcement of Other behaviors (DRO)
Reinforcement is delivered for engaging in any response other than the target
behavior for a specified period of time (e.g., any response displayed other than
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Responses (DRA)
The reinforcement of specified behaviors that meet the function of the behavior
problem (i.e. function).
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