Role of Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Behavioral Pattern

Published: 2021-07-21 05:15:08
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Positive reinforcement tends to increase behavior by applying something positive, in other words, it increases the probability of recurrence of behavior by adding the stimuli. The concept comes under the term operant conditioning based on the experiments made by B.F Skinner in the study of human and animal behavior. For Skinner, there is no difference between a man and a beast. According to skinner human behavior is triggered by the environmental stimuli. In the famous experiment performed by Skinner on rats, when the rat pressed the lever in the box, a food pellet was delivered, hence, pressing of the lever is a positive reinforcer. (Nicholas 122-123)According to B.F Skinner, both positive and negative reinforcement tend to increase the behavioral pattern, as we have seen in the positive reinforcement the stimulus was added, on the contrary, in negative reinforcement, the behavior recurs by removing the stimulus. The idea can be understood by the experiment Skinner performed on the rat. In this experiment, a low-level shock is applied passing through a metal grid, when the shock is applied the rat panics, urinates, and squeals until by it press the lever and the shock is removed. Hence, pressing the lever removes and unpleasant stimulus, and there is a probability of an increase in behavior (Avis et al.74).Similarly, the concept of punishment is also fundamental in the theory of operant conditioning. The purpose punishment is to decrease or eliminate the unwanted behavior. Unlike positive and negative reinforcement, punishment whether positive or negative tends to reduce the recurring behavior. Like positive reinforcement, positive punishment adds a stimulus in the life of the individual so that he will not repeat the same behavior in the future. According to Skinner, positive punishment can be only useful when followed immediately and consistently (Baechle et al. 167-168).Unlike positive punishment, negative punishment tends to remove the stimulus from the individual’s life; the removal of a valuable stimulus from the person’s life tends to decrease the undesired behavior. Like positive punishment the effectiveness of negative punishment also depends on two factors, it must be followed immediately and applied consistently to eliminate the unwanted behavior (Baechle et al. 167-168).Works CitedNicholas, Lionel J. Introduction to Psychology. Cape Town: UCT Press, 2008. Print.Avis, Paul, Annalie Pauw, and der S. I. Van. Psychological Perspectives: An Introductory Workbook. Cape Town: Pearson Education South Africa, 1999. Print.Baechle, Thomas R, and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Estados Unidos: National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2008. Print.

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