Reinforcement increases the chance that a behavior will happen again in the future. Reinforcement can come in two forms: Positive (something is added) or Negative (something is taken away). When we talk about reinforcement, positive and negative do not mean good and bad. Both positive and negative reinforcement make the behavior that happened before the reinforcement happen again. Not everyone likes the same things, something that may seem good to you may not matter to someone else.
Kelly makes her bed and her mom gives her a big hug and says “Great job!” Kelly likes this attention from her mom and makes her bed again to get more of this attention. (positive reinforcement)
Jeff screams at his teacher and the teacher goes away. In the future Jeff screams at his teacher when he wants her to go away. Jeff did not want his teacher to bother him so he screamed at the teacher and made her go away. Getting his teacher to leave was the reinforcer. (negative reinforcement)
Mike likes to look out the window. When Mike does his classwork, his teacher lets him look out the window for five minutes. In the future, Mike completes his classwork so that he can look out the window for five minutes. (positive reinforcement)
Operant of the Month
Student labels something they see, hear, smell, taste, or feel and gets non-specific reinforcement (such as praise or toy)
Ex. Student sees a picture of a cow, says “cow” and gets some kind of reinforcement. He/she does not actually get a cow.
Another word for a tact is label.