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Positive vs Negative Reinforcement

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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 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
                 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
                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
                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.
 • Samantha’s 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
                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
           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
           Positive vs. Negative
       Reinforcement: Another Study
 • For baseline measures, the researchers found that the
   participant’s destructive behaviors were maintained
   when he was able to escape from self-care tasks.
 • The results of the study showed that the participant’s
   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
         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 Skinner’s time, from survival to pleasure.
    Items such as cookies, soda, and stickers were the most
    reinforcing elements of the aforementioned experiments.



Tiffany Jubb
                        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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