Positive Reinforcement Essay
Reinforcement Free Essay Example
Positive reinforcement is majorly used in the analysis of behaviors warranting a response which could either be immediate or occur a little later. This concept practically measures the rate at which human behavior is exhibited as a resultant influence of a stimulus to portray performance or demonstrate the ability to learn. For instance the rate at which a woodpecker pecks on a tree in a given time frame can be a measure of positive reinforcement if it was measured against a stimulus.
I have witnessed the impact of positive reinforcement first hand with my pet. I had trouble making my dog respond to voice commands whenever I wanted it to sit down. None of my efforts bore fruit, since every time I commanded Tommy (my dog) to sit; he either just stared at me or on rare occasions, sat when I was angry at him. He would however forget the command quite easily. This prompted me to try out positive reinforcement. Whenever the dog sat, I gave him a treat and stroked him. This went on for a while then I noticed Tommy understood that every time it sat, it meant a treat from me. The treat therefore became the reinforcing factor and the dog would never hesitate to sit whenever I commanded it to do so. I therefore established that the treat increased the response (sitting) from the dog.
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Negative response majorly entails withdrawing a negative attribute to induce a positive response. We sometimes perform this action without even noticing. I witnessed negative reinforcement in action in the relationship I had with my younger brother when he was in elementary school. He always had the problem of leaving the room unkempt every time he left for school. This got to my nerves after repetitively warning him against it. As a result, I never hesitated to remind him every morning before he left for school to leave his room well kempt. This became some sort of habit and he always said that I was nagging because he blamed it on the little time he had before he could catch the morning bus. He shared this opinion with his friends. To my surprise, one day he decided to prepare the bed before leaving. Moreover his room was in an elegant condition. Immediately, I stopped nagging. From then henceforth, my small brother always kept his room tidy. This action was facilitated by the elimination of the negative stimulus which was my nagging behavior. The reinforcing behavior was the acquired tendency of keeping the room tidy. My brother therefore kept his room clean because he knew that in this way, he wouldn’t be nagged.
The use of punishment is justifiable as positive punishment in the context of this study. The punishment is a way of creating an aversive element that will deter an offence. If I had a child, I would use this strategy because it is only meant to keep the child in place and not harm him/her. When my children particularly grow up into adolescent years I wouldn’t hesitate to apply positive behavior to keep them in check.
When the child is punished, he or she would associate negative behavior to the punishment. This would then deter him or her from doing a wrong thing. The applicability of positive punishment should therefore never be viewed as a negative thing or a method of hurting the child. This is just a form of tough love to which children understand best especially when young. A young child would also grow up in a disciplined way if he/she was spanked for failing to observe toilet etiquette. The child would then grow up to be afraid of being spanked. The spanking would be the stimulus to affect the proper toilet etiquette which is the response.
Same as positive punishment, negative punishment should be perceived in a non-hurtful way of inducing positive response. Negative punishment involves the withdrawal of privileges, timeouts and other regulatory measures. I would personally use negative punishment on my child because it is not hurtful but only meant to induce some form of positive behavior by reducing a negative response. Research studies have also attested to the fact that positive punishment is the most effective method of inducing positive behavior.
When a child is added a positive element to his/her behavior, not only would it induce a positive behavior but also give both the parent and the child the opportunity to focus on the positive elements of the situation. However, positive punishment should be carefully applied or else it might lead to negative responses. The negative responses might include resentments or hate. It therefore means that as a parent, one should apply the use of punishment in moderation and care. For instance, when removing privileges to a high school teenager, it’s important that privileges are not withdrawn such that the boy or girl suffers. Basics should be maintained like a bus ride to school but privileges like personal cars should be withdrawn.
Reinforcement is observed to be a way of strengthening the behaviors of an individual. The term is mainly used in psychology to refer to the influence of a person’s behavior, positively. The uses of positive and negative punishments are therefore tools which could be used to rectify or reduce a person’s behavior. Positive and negative reinforcements are also meant to strengthen or increase a particular response.