The Psychological Theory of Positive Reinforcement


In psychological theory, there are various ways to change, maintain, or create behaviours. There is a two by two chart (!!!! calm down) that illustrates the giving (positive) of treatment to change behaviour, the taking (negative) of treatment to change behaviour, the encouragement (reinforcement) of behaviour, and the discouragement (punishment) of behaviour. Most people are familiar with (negative) punishment to make kids behave better, including taking away privileges.
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However, I just don’t know how this one fits into the scheme of things. When I was in school, we were asked to choose one of our own behaviours, choose a reward or punishment, and record our change (or non-change) in behaviour. Well, I knew that I needed to watch less TV so choosing the behaviour was a done deal. The second part was choosing a reward. THAT, was the tough one. I was dirt poor and so telling myself that I would get myself a magazine or coffee or a movie night as reward was out of the question. I needed a non-financial reward. And I found one. I was FAR more interested in seeing the results of this highly scientific study than anything else. In other words, I want to see a change in the chart that I was going to create from the results. Needless to say, I vastly decreased by television viewing. It was a great chart.šŸ™‚
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But I digress. I confess that it has been more than one week since my last blog. My chart of blog views showed a decline over that period, which in itself was fun to see, but now the standard deviation around my average blog views has increased resulting in larger confidence intervals around the mean. I hope you can forgive me. But what a nice chart it is!
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  • One response

    1. I would have chosen as my behavior-mod the goal to watch less television. My reward would have been more television.

      Statistics don’t take readiness into account.

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