Positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement

Positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement

In the Operant Conditioning, it divided into reinforcement and punishment, and there are positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Also, there are positive punishment and negative punishment. Reinforcement is a kind of stimulus that enhance/ increase the probabilities of a certain behavior. We mainly discuss positive reinforcement, which strengthens a response by presenting a typically pleasurable stimulus after a response (Psychology 10th edition, P288). Basically, positive reinforcement is adding a desirable stimulus that will motivate people to increase the probability that engaging the behavior again. A lot of examples can prove my statement. I remember that when I was at primary school, I always missed few points on very easy questions in the exams. It is not terrible but my mother wanted to correct my incaution. She said that whenever I got 100 (full points) in the exams, I could have 10 dollars as prizes. I was stimulated and tried my best to get perfect score in exams. Once I got a perfect score in the exam, my mother will fulfill her promise. Prizes encouraged me to do not make small mistakes but I actually became more circumspective than before.

Let us talk about something related to negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement occurs when a certain stimulus (usually an aversive stimulus) is removed after a particular behavior is exhibited. The likelihood of the particular behavior occurring again in the future is increased because of removing/avoiding the negative consequence (behavioral consulting, Kelley Prince M.A.). Negative reinforcement is not like punishment. Negative reinforcement is removing or reducing bad things by doing something. For example, I would turn on the windscreen wipers when I saw water on my car’s windscreen. The water on the windscreen disturbs my sight and affect driving. I will turn on the windscreen wipers when I drive in the rain to avoid water staying on my windscreen (educateautism, Gavin Cosgrave)

Positive reinforcements and negative reinforcements exist in our lives commonly. Any decisions we make or any behaviors we do may relate to reinforcement.






5 thoughts on “Positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement

  1. Julie Amanda Stair

    Reinforcement adds so much motivation to making people do good things. I remember so many times during my childhood that my reinforcement was used. I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house when I was a kid because my mom and dad worked a lot. If I helped my grandmom set the table and clear the table at dinner she would give me a dollar for helping. When I got older she eventually stopped giving me a dollar but I still continued to help her and set the table and I still do to this day. My grandmom reinforcing me caused me to do a good thing automatically the rest of my life. In my opinion reinforcement is one of the most effective way to teach a child to do good things.

  2. Benjamin Daniel Rivera

    I like your post because I can relate with it. As a few said in their comments my parents used the same approach when raising me up. I got negative and positive reinforcement to increase my good behaviors. When I would get a bad grade I would lose things for a certain time period and after only a few times I found myself trying harder so I wouldn’t lose anything I liked. After sometime I realized by doing good I could get more, may that be getting to pick what dinner will be and such, so I tried harder for those reasons. I like you used sources a long with courses material. It shows you really thought it out. Great post!

  3. Taylor Blackford

    Great job explaining these. I had a lot of questions on the last exam about the differences between all the punishments and reinforcements, then throw in positive and negative and its just too much. They should have used different names for each individual thing. Your examples are easy to understand and are a correct interpretations of them. Also good job citing sources!

  4. Madelynne Elizabeth Beard

    These are great examples! My parents used positive reinforcement to get my sister and me to do chores when I was younger. We received an allowance at the end of each week if we made our beds every morning and kept our rooms clean. This is an example of a fixed interval, positive reinforcement. They would try to increase our behavior of making our beds and keeping our clothes picked up, by adding a positive stimulus when that behavior occurred, in this case money. My teachers in elementary school would sometimes use negative reinforcement with our math and spelling quizzes. If we got 100% on the pre-test, then at the end of the week we wouldn’t have to take the real test. This was to increase the behavior of us putting in effort on the pre-test, and rewarded us by taking away a negative stimulus, in this case, the second test.

  5. Matthew Richard Caswell

    The idea of parents using operant conditioning to improve test scores sounds very familiar to me; my parents took a similar approach. Instead of using positive reinforcement and giving a prize for perfect scores like they did for you, mine went the other direction and used negative reinforcement for me. You see, when it came to spelling tests my father would spend anywhere from a half hour to an hour quizzing me on the list of words, which only really ever had twenty words on it for any one test. Studying with him was tedious, and I absolutely hated it. What was worse though, was after studying was done for the rest of the night as I was trying to relax or eat dinner he would randomly yell out a word and I was obligated to spell it perfectly. This annoyed me like nothing else. Where negative reinforcement came in was if I were to get a perfect score on a test, then he would not do his random interval schedule of yelling out words for the next test I had. Positive or negative, either way, reinforcement definitely adds motivation.

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