top of page

How To: Positive and Negative Reinforcement



What is reinforcement?

Reinforcement refers to the idea that behavior increases in frequency after the presentation or removal of stimulus. Reinforcement can be further defined by whether it is positive or negative reinforcement.


Positive reinforcement is when a stimulus follows a behavior and that behavior increases in frequency of occurrence in the future.


Negative reinforcement is when a stimulus is removed or avoided following a behavior and that behavior also increases in frequency of occurrence in the future.


In other words: Reinforcement means that a behavior will happen MORE often in the future when something is added or taken away immediately after the behavior. Reinforcement can be considered positive or negative.


Positive reinforcement is when something is ADDED (or given) to the individual after a behavior occurs and that behavior happens more often in the future.


Example of Positive Reinforcement:

Jeremy likes to get out of his seat constantly during dinner time. Jeremy was able to stay in his seat during the 15 minute dinner period. His mom said “good job!” and gave him his favorite ice cream. Jeremy is more likely to stay in his seat in the future.


Negative reinforcement is when something is REMOVED (or taken away) from the individual after a behavior occurs and that behavior happens more often in the future.


Example of Negative Reinforcement:

Melissa gets dressed in the morning. There is a tag that is making her neck itchy. She goes to her older brother and asks for help cutting off the tag. Brother cuts off the tag, removing the itchy feeling. Melissa is more likely to ask for help to remove a tag in the future.


Reminders about reinforcement:

  • Positive and negative are NOT synonymous with good and bad.

  • Positive and negative refer to whether a stimulus is added or taken away.

  • The stimulus may be preferred or non-preferred.


If you are looking for a therapist to implement some changes in your children's life, please contact us or book an appointment.


Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page