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Positive Reinforcement is a technique used to improve behavior. [1] It works with children in the classroom[2.1] or at home[2.2], especially kids on the autism spectrum and with behavior problems. [2.3]
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Dog-training uses positive reinforcement. [1] You say “sit,” and the dog sits[2.3], then you give it a treat. [2.5] The “reward” motivates the dog to sit on command to earn another treat.[3.2] Positive reinforcement exists in the natural world. [4] If you are thirsty[5.1] and you take a drink of water[5.2], you feel satisfied and you will probably take a drink next time you feel thirst.[6.1] Any action that gives you a positive result will inspire you to repeat it. [6.2]
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It is easier to notice annoying[1.2], rude[1.3], distracting[1.4], or inattentive behavior.[1.5] We usually reprimand bad conduct.[2] Punishment can be the quickest way to stop a bad behavior[3.1], but the effect doesn't last.[3.2] Punishment can backfire[4.1], as when a child misbehaves to gain attention.[4.4+5]
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However, when you encourage desired behaviors, they tend to happen again and again. [1] The most effective rewards are adult attention[2], time,[2.2] and verbal appreciation.[2.4] Frequent and consistent positive feedback works best. [3]
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Positive reinforcement is the most widely-used technique in Applied Behavioral Analysis. [1] It comes from psychologist B.F Skinner’s theory of Operant Conditioning. [2] This theory states that behaviors change due to the results of the behavior. [3] Skinner’s work draws on Edward Thorndike’s “law of effect.” [4] The “law of effect” says that actions[5.2] followed by[5.3] pleasant effects[5.4] will be repeated.[5.5] Actions that bring unpleasant consequences will likely stop. [6]
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Repeating the “reward” strengthens good behavior. [1] A good standard is to give five positive reinforcements for each correction. [2] Rewards can be simple[3.1], such as a smile[3.2], a nod[3.3], or saying “thank you.[3.4]” For instance, you can acknowledge a child for sitting quietly, raising her hand, or other “good” behaviors 5 times. [4] If the child then does something bad like breaking a glass you can say “Please remember to be careful.” [5] Then you start the cycle of 5 positive reinforcements again. [6]
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[1] Getting started with positive reinforcement requires conscious effort. [2] Resolve to breaking the habit of noticing only bad behavior [3.2] and instead focus on good conduct. [3.4]
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Positive reinforcement can work in many situations: [1.1] with workers, [1.2] teenagers, [1.3] toddlers, [1.4] and even on yourself! [1.5] When starting a new exercise routine, give yourself a reward right after you work out. [2.2] Positive reinforcement helps you stick to your routine. [2.4]
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Thank you for watching our video! [1] We're always working on more videos to better understand how we learn and how we can grow. [2] If you have any topic suggestions or would like us to help answer a question or explain a concept, let us know in the comments below! [3]
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