What is reinforcement?

  • (noun): (psychology) a stimulus that strengthens or weakens the behavior that produced it.
    Synonyms: reinforcing stimulus, reinforcer
    See also — Additional definitions below


Reinforcement is a term in operant conditioning and behavior analysis for a process of strengthening a directly measurable dimension of behavior—such as rate (e.g., pulling a lever more frequently), duration (e.g., pulling a lever for longer periods of time), magnitude (e.g., pulling a lever with greater force), or latency (e.g., pulling a lever more quickly following the onset of an environmental event)—as a function of the delivery of a stimulus (e.g. money from a slot machine) immediately or shortly after the occurrence of the behavior. Giving a monkey a banana for performing a trick is an example of positive reinforcement.

Read more about Reinforcement.

Some articles on reinforcement:

Château De Fontenoy-le-Château - History - Reinforcement
... The castle saw two important reinforcement phases. ...
Reinforcement - Criticisms - History of The Terms
... Ivan Pavlov may have been the first to use the word reinforcement with respect to behavior, but (according to Dinsmoor) he used its approximate Russian cognate sparingly, and even then it referred to ... In popular use, positive reinforcement is often used as a synonym for reward, with people (not behavior) thus being "reinforced", but this is contrary to ... Negative reinforcement is often used by laypeople and even social scientists outside psychology as a synonym for punishment ...
Superstition and Psychology
... of the root of his pigeons' superstitious behaviour, his conception of the reinforcement schedule has been used to explain superstitious behaviour in humans ... some pigeons responded up to 10,000 times without reinforcement when they had originally been conditioned on an intermittent reinforcement basis." Compared to the other reinforcement schedules (e ... This is called the partial reinforcement effect, and this has been used to explain superstitious behaviour in humans ...
Mechanically Stabilized Earth - Reinforcement
... Reinforcement placed in horizontal layers throughout the height of the wall provides the tensile strength to hold the soil together ... The reinforcement materials of MSE can vary ... long steel strips 50 to 120 mm (2 to 5 in) wide were used as reinforcement ...
Behavior Management - Building Prosocial Behavior
... Over the years, behavioral management principles such as reinforcement, modeling and even the use of punishment have been explored in the building of ... Midlarsky and colleagues (1973) used a combination of modeling and reinforcement to build altruistic behavior ... Sharing is another prosocial behavior influenced by reinforcement ...

More definitions of "reinforcement":

  • (noun): A device designed to provide additional strength.
    Synonyms: strengthener
  • (noun): A military operation (often involving new supplies of men and materiel) to strengthen a military force or aid in the performance of its mission.
    Synonyms: support, reenforcement
  • (noun): An act performed to strengthen approved behavior.
    Synonyms: reward
  • (noun): Information that makes more forcible or convincing.
    Example: "His gestures provided eloquent reinforcement for his complaints"
    Synonyms: reenforcement