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Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement The use of reinforcement has been the basis of behavior modification for many research studies. It is important to.

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Presentation on theme: "Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement The use of reinforcement has been the basis of behavior modification for many research studies. It is important to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement The use of reinforcement has been the basis of behavior modification for many research studies. It is important to note the difference between positive and negative reinforcement: –Positive reinforcement = addition of a stimulus –Negative reinforcement = removal of a stimulus Examples: –Positive reinforcement: food presentation Negative reinforcement: food deprivation –Positive reinforcement: giving a shock Negative reinforcement: escaping a shock (Iwata, 2006) Tiffany Jubb

2 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: Research Studies have been conducted to examine the efficacy of positive and negative reinforcement in escape-maintained behavior. In these studies, the behaviors of individuals whose destructive behaviors were maintained through escape were modified through positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, or a combination of both. Tiffany Jubb

3 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: a Study In this study, a 10-year old autistic child, Samantha, with destructive, aggressive, and self-injurious behaviors was required to complete tasks while behaviors were observed. In the first part of the study, when Samantha completed the required tasks, she was rewarded with either a 30 second break (negative reinforcement) or a potato chip (positive reinforcement). During this portion, task completion and appropriate behaviors increased only in the positive reinforcement condition. (DeLeon, Neidert, Anders, & Rodriguez-Catter, 2001) Tiffany Jubb

4 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: a Study In the second part of the study, consecutive task completions gradually increased. When tasks were completed, Samantha was given the choice of receiving a potato chip or a 30 second break from her assignments. The results showed that up until the 10 consecutive task set, Samantha consistently chose positive reinforcement when tasks were completed. Samanthas negative behaviors were low until this set, but after being required to complete 10 tasks consecutively multiple times, her negative behaviors increased and her preference towards positive reinforcement shifted to preference towards negative reinforcement. (DeLeon, Neidert, Anders, & Rodriguez-Catter, 2001) Tiffany Jubb

5 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: a Study The researchers concluded that initially, positive reinforcement was more effective and preferred by Samantha because the potato chip held a higher value than a 30 second break in task completion. However, after being required to consecutively complete more than one task, the 30 second break became more valuable than a potato chip at the 10 task set. (DeLeon, Neidert, Anders, & Rodriguez-Catter, 2001) Tiffany Jubb

6 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: Another Study In this study, researchers observed a 19-year old male with profound mental retardation and who displayed destructive and aggressive behaviors. The participant was required to complete self-care tasks, such as wiping his face, washing his hands, and putting on or removing his jacket and shoes. When a task was completed, the participant received a high-preference positive reinforcer, ie. cookies, soda, stickers, or 20 seconds of listening to music. The participant received a 30 second break (negative reinforcement) when he displayed destructive behaviors. (Carter, 2010) Tiffany Jubb

7 Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement: Another Study For baseline measures, the researchers found that the participants destructive behaviors were maintained when he was able to escape from self-care tasks. The results of the study showed that the participants destructive behaviors decreased and compliance increased throughout the experiment as a result of the use of positive reinforcement. Although the participant was presented with the option of escape behavior (the 30 second break), the participant instead showed task compliance when rewarded with a high-preference reinforcer. (Carter, 2010) Tiffany Jubb

8 Commentary: Skinner and reinforcement After considering positive and negative reinforcement, I found it interesting that Skinner stated the most influential reinforcers are those that are beneficial to survival. He goes on to speak of sugar as a reinforcer, and how its appeal leads to overeating and weight gain. As time has passed, it appears that reinforcement has shifted, even in Skinners time, from survival to pleasure. Items such as cookies, soda, and stickers were the most reinforcing elements of the aforementioned experiments. Tiffany Jubb

9 References Carter, S.L. (2010). A comparison of various forms of reinforcement with and without extinction as treatment for escape-maintained problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43(3), 543- 546. DeLeon, I.G., Neidert, P.L., Anders, B.M., & Rodriguez-Catter, V. (2001). Choices between positive and negative reinforcement during treatment for escape-maintained behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 34(4), 521-525. Iwata, B.A. (2006). On the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement. The Behavior Analyst, 29(1), 121-123. Tiffany Jubb


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