Monday, June 26, 2017


We have been learning about ways to strengthening operant behavior through reinforcement. Like we already learned behaviors can be strengthened through reinforcement. But what we did not touch on is that a behavior can be wakened through extinction. Extinction is the non-reinforcement of a former reinforced response; the results of this process is a decrease in the strength of that responses strength. For example, a child learned that every time he whines he will receive candy, he will continue to whine every time he wants candy but, if you switch it up and withhold the candy the frequency of the whining will decline. This is an example of a gradual weakening of a conditioned response that resulted in the behavior decreasing or disappearing. When you stop rewarding the behavior will eventually stop. This is something that is important for everyone to know, it is a useful tool that we will all come across as adults whether we are dealing with a child or an animal.

Extinction in operant condition

Positive Punishment

 As we have learned previously, reinforcement is a procedure that strengthens a behavior, and punishment is a procedure that weakens behavior. When dealing with positive punishment it can tend to get a little confusing. The work positive means that a behavior is followed by the presentation or addition of something “positive”. In this situation, the word positive when it is paired with punishment, does not refer to good or pleasant, it just means that the response resulted in something being added or presented. Resulting in the delivery of something the person or animal hates, this will result in them being less likely to behave that way in the future. When dealing with word negative, this is referring to the removal of something, this scenario would be the subtraction of something from the situation. In simpler terms, the word negative does not refer to something bad, it is referring to a response resulting in the removal of something. For example, if a child is acting bad their toys will be taken away. To sum this all up, in this situation when dealing with the word positive punishment the word positive only means that the behavior has resulted in something being added, and the word punishment means that the behavior will decrease in strength. If a situations consequence weakens the behavior this would-be punishment.  

Positive Punishment broken down in examples from popular children’s movie: