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Learning & Reinforcement
Theories of Learning
• Classical conditioning
• Reinforcement Theory
• Social Cognitive (aka Social Learning)
Reinforcement Theory
• Definition: a consequence that increases
likelihood of response
– positive: application of pleasant
– negative: removal of aversive
• Types of reinforcers:
– Positive
– Aversive
Types of Reinforcement
Schedules of Reinforcement
• Continuous
• Intermittent:
– Interval
• Fixed
• Variable
– Ratio
• Fixed
• Variable
Behavior Modification
• Identify behaviors that are CLEARLY related to performance
• Measure natural occurrence of behavior across time
• Identify events that precipitate the behavior as well as the
consequences of the behavior
• Develop an intervention strategy:
– Pick reinforcer(s)
– Decide on a schedule of reinforcement
– Implement schedule
– Chart behavior change over time
– Revise strategy if necessary
• Assess behavioral change
Maximizing the Effectiveness
of Reinforcement
• More likely to work when:
– Rewards are valued (give CHOICE!)
– Regular feedback on performance
– Reward closely follows desired behavior
– Person knows what is expected and how they will be
– Rewards are administered fairly and consistently
• Common Problems:
– Reinforcement not immediate
– Reinforcement is non-contingent
– Reward is not powerful enough
– Inconsistent distribution
Some Guidelines Regarding
• “Hot Stove” rule
– Swift
– Relatively intense
– Impersonal
– Focus is on behavior
– Consistent
– Describe alternative acceptable behavior
Social Cognitive Theory
• Vicarious learning
• Performance is the result of:
– Goals
– self-efficacy
– emotional reactions
Learning Styles
• Concrete Experiencing (thinking)
• Reflective Observation (watching)
• Abstract Conceptualizing (thinking)
• Active Experimentation (doing)