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Kendra Cherry

Positive Reinforcement - Psychology Definition of the Week

By April 29, 2011

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Definition: Positive reinforcement is a concept first described by psychologist B. F. Skinner in his theory of operant conditioning. Positive reinforcement is anything added that follows a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future. One of the easiest ways to remember this is to think of something being added to the situation. For example, imagine that your psychology professor awards you 20 extra credit points for writing a paper summarizing a PBS program you watched on animal intelligence. The bonus points are an example of positive reinforcement.

Find additional examples and learn more overview of positive reinforcement.

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April 30, 2011 at 8:13 am
(1) Sara says:

Good post topic. Positive reinforcement is so important in so many aspects of our lives.

March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm
(2) Warren says:

Why, Sara?

October 29, 2012 at 11:11 am
(3) Sara says:

Why what, Warren?

January 30, 2013 at 12:18 am
(4) Jon says:

I enjoyed the first comment very much.

April 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm
(5) Kent Van Cleave says:

This definition of positive reinforcement is not correct. “Anything that follows a behavior…” can include taking something aversive away, which is negative reinforcement. Correct the wording by adding the word “added”: “Anything added that follows a behavior…”

April 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm
(6) Kendra says:

Thanks for noting that, Kent!

March 6, 2014 at 10:30 am
(7) Almagul Nurkabayeva says:

hi kendra, where can i find a quote for definition of positive and negative reinforcement? thanks.

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