Description of Positive Reinforcement

In: Psychology

Submitted By student73
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According to About.com the definition for positive reinforcement is “a behavioral technique in which desired behaviors are increased through the use of rewards, also known as positive reinforce” (Fritscher & Lisa, 2009, 1). All behavior whether positive or negative are followed by consequences in turn the consequences are defined as positive or negative based on the effect it has on the behavior( Watling & Schwartz, 2004). Therefore positive reinforcement is a type of consequence when used consistently and immediately following a behavior increases the chances that the behaviors will reoccur (Watling & Schwartz, 2004). An example of this could be working with a client who has social anxiety, the client goes to dinner with a friend, and the clinician could demonstrate positive reinforcement by praising the clients’ efforts to socialize. Such praise could offer the client the encouragement they need to make more efforts toward socializing. Positive reinforcement can be used to encourage a client to develop new behaviors or strengthen behaviors a client is currently demonstrating (Watling & Schwartz, 2004). Positive reinforcement is an effective tool when used correctly. Unfortunately, there are a few misconceptions concerning positive reinforcement, such as the belief by some that positive reinforcement is a form of bribery or coercion (Watling & Schwartz, 2004). According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary bribery is “money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person” (" bribe," 2011). Merriam-Webster online dictionary also defines coercion as “to compel to an act or choice” (“coerce," 2011). According to Merriam-Webster, bribery occurs when an individual is “rewarded for unethical behavior” and coercion occurs when an individual is compelled by force without any thought to what that individual may…...

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