Q:

What is the difference between reinforcement and punishment?

A:

Reinforcement encourages behavior while punishment discourages it. Both develop learning through what is called operant conditioning, in which behaviors increase or decrease based on the type of result obtained.

Edward Thorndike was a psychologist who first studied operant conditioning, which describes the learning that is based on the consequences of the learner. His work influenced that of B.F. Skinner, a behavioral psychologist who developed the terms reinforcement and punishment in terms of operant conditioning. Skinner's work showed that punishments tend to decrease the likelihood of specific behaviors while reinforcements tend to increase the likelihood of specific behaviors.

Both terms can be described in positive and negative terms. Positive reinforcement offers something desirable to increase positive behaviors, while negative reinforcement removes something undesirable to increase positive behaviors. Positive punishment offers something undesirable to reduce negative behaviors, while negative punishment removes something desirable to reduce negative behaviors.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is negative reinforcement?

    A:

    Negative reinforcement is a concept in psychology's theory of operant conditioning that suggests a behavior is strengthened when a negative outcome is stopped, removed, avoided or prevented. Negative reinforcement is an effective method of strengthening a desired behavior. Unlike punishment, negative reinforcement attempts to increase a specific behavior.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of vicarious reinforcement?

    A:

    An example of vicarious reinforcement is when a toddler learns to use the bathroom on his own because he saw his older siblings do the same and get rewarded for it. Another example is when a child eats all of her dinner in order to receive dessert because she has watched her older sister eat the entire meal and earn dessert.

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  • Q:

    What is an example of continuous reinforcement?

    A:

    An example of continuous reinforcement is to put children in timeout every time they misbehave. Continuous reinforcement is simply a continuation of the same response to misbehavior every time it occurs.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between personality and character?

    A:

    The difference between personality and character is that personality often refers to traits that an individual was born with while character largely involves defining an individual's integrity. Common examples of personalities include extroverted, shy, energetic, lazy, confident, funny and negative. Character traits may include kindness, honesty and virtue.

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