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Secondary Reinforcers (Definition & Examples)

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Secondary Reinforcers (Definition & Examples)

Secondary reinforcement refers to the additional reinforcement of a behavior after it has already been mentally associated with primary reinforcement.  As a hypothetical example, let’s say you have a pet kitten and are trying to teach the kitten a specific behavior with reinforcement.

You might instruct your kitten to “sit” and when the cat successfully sits, you might reward the kitten with a special treat while simultaneously saying “good job” (in an encouraging vocal tone).  In this example of training your kitten to sit, the treat would be considered the primary reinforcer and the vocal encouragement (i.e. “good job”) would be considered the secondary reinforcer.

Primary reinforcement usually appeals to biological desires (e.g. hunger) whereas secondary reinforcement usually needs to be paired with a primary reinforcer before it can generate the desired behavior or response.  In the example outlined, the kitten might not have been able to mentally associate vocal encouragement with reward until it was paired with delivery of the special treat.

Table of Contents

What is psychological reinforcement?

The definition of psychological reinforcement is strengthening or promoting a behavior or response via introduction of a stimulus.  Reinforced behavior is behavior that’s likely to be repeated in the future.

For example, if a child is given food for exercising – the food would be considered the reinforcer and exercising would be the promoted behavior.  By reinforcing a child’s behavior by presenting food, the child is likely to repeat the behavior of exercise in the future.

Rumor has it that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dad made him do push-ups and sit-ups (desired behavior) to “earn” his breakfast (reward).  Essentially, his dad was using primary reinforcement by presenting Arnold with a meal after he had completed his morning exercise.

Assuming Arnold’s dad also said “good job” or “I’m proud of you” in an encouraging tone each time he received his breakfast (the primary reinforcer), the verbal praise would be considered a form of secondary reinforcement.  In other words, the secondary reinforcement (verbal praise) gets paired with the primary reinforcement (biologically-necessary food).

Primary vs. Secondary Reinforcement (Definition & Examples)

Primary reinforcement: This is the most primitive form of reinforcement that satisfies basic biological needs of an organism.  Primary reinforcers do not need to be “learned” because they are innate or instinctual.  Examples of primary reinforcers would include: food, water, air, sleep, and sex.

Secondary reinforcement: This is a form of reinforcement that gets mentally associated with primary reinforcement – and involves the process of “learning” or “conditioning.”  For humans in developed countries, one of the most common examples of a secondary reinforcer is money.

Although money doesn’t directly satisfy biological needs, monetary compensation is a secondary reinforcer in that it can be used to buy food, water, or a comfortable place to sleep.  If money could not be used to acquire food, water, shelter, etc. – it would not be considered a secondary reinforcer.

Secondary reinforcers (List of Examples)

Below are some realistic examples of secondary reinforcement (or secondary reinforcers) being implemented.

1. Pavlov’s dog experiment: One of the most popular examples of secondary or conditioned reinforcement was demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov’s experiment of classical conditioning. In this experiment, Pavlov rings a bell and immediately delivers food to the dogs (resulting in salivation).

Repeating this process of ringing a bell and delivering food to the dogs – leads them to mentally “associate” the bell ringing with food delivery.  As a result, the dogs will begin to salivate following bell rings even if food isn’t delivered.

2. Using a “clicker” to train a dog: Many people use clickers (devices that generate clicking sounds) in effort to train their dogs. Assuming you’re trying to train a dog to sit, you could use your “clicker” to generate a clicking sound each time the dog sits – and then follow up the click with a reward (e.g. a treat).

Eventually, the dog will learn to associate the click with sitting – such that each time there’s a click in the future, the dog sits (even without the treat).  In this case, the “clicking” noise would be considered a secondary reinforcer (or one that the dog has mentally associated with the primary reinforcer of a treat).

3. Monetary compensation: Money is considered the ultimate secondary reinforcer for humans. Money is considered a secondary reinforcer because money can be used to acquire primary reinforcers such as food, water, housing (i.e. shelter), etc.

Most people work hard to develop specific skills and attain steady employment so that they can receive ongoing monetary compensation.  With monetary compensation, humans are able to satisfy basic biological drives such as hunger and thirst.

4. Verbal encouragement: Verbal encouragement could also be a secondary reinforcer in that it is not a biological necessity. For example, each time a child performs a behavior that his/her parents desire – the parents might offer a special meal coupled with verbal encouragement or praise.

After receiving a great meal and verbal encouragement repeatedly associated with a specific behavior – the child may learn to engage in the desired behavior just verbal encouragement (as a secondary reinforcer).  In other words, the special meal may not need to be used after a mental association has been formed between the specific behavior and verbal encouragement.

5. Tokens or “gold stars”: Tokens may be used in some settings to reward people for good behavior. For example, residents of a group home might receive tokens or “gold stars” for engaging in household chores (e.g. doing the dishes, vacuuming, making their bed, etc.).

With adequate accumulation of tokens or gold stars, the person who acquires them may be treated with gourmet meal.  Essentially, these tokens reward persons who help maintain the cleanliness of the house – and are only desired insofar as they are mentally associated with the gourmet meal.

6. Good grades: Receiving good grades in school may be a secondary reinforcer for some children. Many children are given special rewards or privileges from parents and/or teachers such as: pizza parties, ice cream, going to a movie, and/or a special toy.

Although the attainment of good grades does not directly satisfy any basic biological need – it might be mentally associated with things a child desires (e.g. tasty foods, going to movies, etc.).  As a result, the child may be more motivated to get good grades in the future – knowing that a reward is awaiting.

Why someone might use secondary reinforcers…

Although primary reinforcement works well to entrain desired behaviors, there are some notable benefits of using secondary reinforcement.

Primary reinforcers are limited: Primary reinforcers only work well if the subject or entity that you’re trying to entrain is deprived of a basic biological need. For example, if a dog is hungry, primary reinforcement with food can help teach the dog a new behavior.  However, if the dog is full, he/she may not desire food – making primary reinforcers less effective.Secondary reinforcers don’t require biological needs: Secondary reinforcers are beneficial because they can be delivered even after biological needs or desires have been met. For example, let’s say a child engages in a desired behavior – that you typically rewarded with food (a treat) and verbal praise. Even if the child is full, you still will be able to provide verbal praise as a secondary reinforcer (which should reinforce the desired behavior) – regardless of satiation.

Considering primary and secondary reinforcement in “behavior chaining”

Behavior chaining:  This refers to a specific sequence or order of behavioral responses in which the completion of each behavioral response provides a cue (i.e. signal) to engage in an additional response.

Behavior chaining is known to utilize primary reinforcement and secondary reinforcement to generate a specific behavior.  With a long enough “chain” or sequence of behavioral responses – a complex behavior is formed.

An example: Let’s assume a teenager is hungry and rides a bicycle to a fast food restaurant.  The teenager enters the fast food restaurant and walks up to the counter to place an order.

Next, the teenager reaches into his/her pocket for a wallet and pulls out a five-dollar bill and places an order for a cheeseburger and French fries.  Thereafter, the teenager eats the meal and exits the restaurant.

If you analyze this example, you’ll realize that the entire complex behavior was divided into a chain of individual responses and reinforcers – all of which stemmed from the biological incentive to satisfy hunger.

The teenager is hungry and wants to eat (biological instinct)The teenager bikes to the fast-food restaurant (response to the hunger)The teenager arrives at the restaurant (reinforcement)The teenager opens the door (individual response)The teenager enters the restaurant (reinforcement)The teenager walks up to place an order (individual response)The teenager reaches the counter to order (reinforcement)The teenager digs in his/her wallet for money (individual response)The teenager removes a bill from his/her wallet to pay (reinforcement)The teenager orders a burger and French fries (individual response)The teenager receives his food (reinforcement)The teenager consumes the meal (individual response)Hunger is completely satisfied (biological urge ceases)

In the example above, it should be obvious that when an individual response was reinforced, the reinforcement provided a psychological signal to proceed with the next response.  When the teenager digs in his/her wallet for a -dollar bill – this is a signal to proceed with ordering his/her burger and French fries.

Had the action or behavior of digging out of a wallet not been reinforced, the chain of behaviors would be broken.  If we examine the aforementioned example of behavioral chaining, the reinforcements can be classified as either “primary” or “secondary.”

Satisfying hunger as a result of consuming the burger and French fries is an example of primary reinforcement (as this satisfies a biological urge), whereas all other reinforcers would be classified as secondary reinforcement (they are learned and do not directly satisfy biological urges).  Behavioral chaining is often effective for teaching productive complex behaviors to children with autism.

8.2 Changing Behaviour through Reinforcement and

8.2 Changing Behaviour through Reinforcement and – Whereas a primary reinforcer includes stimuli that are naturally preferred or enjoyed by the organism, such as food, water, and relief from pain, a secondary reinforcer (sometimes called conditioned reinforcer) is a neutral event that has become associated with a primary reinforcer through classical conditioning. An example of a secondaryExample 2: Taking a pill for the headache to go away. It has been seen that primary reinforcers are more effective than secondary reinforcers (conditioned reinforcers) when it comes to results. A hungry child is more likely to finish his homework in time if he is promised to be offered food, rather than a child doing assignments for good grades.For example, food is a primary reinforcer, money buys food. Therefore, money, in this case, is a secondary reinforcer; its value is relative to the primary reinforcer, which in this case is food. If it was declared that all one dollar notes wouldn't be accepted as currency, they would not be considered as reinforcement anymore.

Primary Reinforcer – Psychestudy – Secondary Reinforcement . Secondary reinforcement, also known as conditioned reinforcement, involves stimuli that have become rewarding by being paired with another reinforcing stimulus.For example, when training a dog, praise and treats might be used as primary reinforcers. The sound of a clicker can be associated with the praise and treats until the sound of the clicker itself begins to workTo learn more, review the lesson Secondary Reinforcers: Examples & Definition, which covers the following objectives: Differentiate primary reinforcers and secondary reinforcers Review an examplea. A primary reinforcer may be ineffective if the person is not in a deprived state. b. A secondary reinforcer is less effective than a primary reinforcer in controlling behavior. c. Money is a powerful primary reinforcer. d. Comfortable air temperature would be an example of an effective secondary reinforcer.

Primary Reinforcer - Psychestudy

Explanation of Primary and Secondary Reinforcement With – The following are examples in which secondary reinforcers were used to reinforce desired behavior. Contact with a preferred person as a reinforcer: At one facility contact with a preferred person was used as a reinforcer to train a Sun Conure to step up onto new people.Which of the following is an example of a conditioned reinforcer? Conditioned Reinforcer. These reinforcers are also known as Conditioned Reinforcers. For example: money, grades and praise are conditioned reinforcers. In other words, secondary reinforcement is the process in which certain stimuli are paired with primary reinforcers or stimuliExamples of secondary reinforcers are praising the student and/or putting a sticker or a letter grade of "A" on a worksheet. Most people are very influenced by a potent secondary reinforcer, money! Some students may have limited items or activities that can be identified as positive reinforcers.

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PPT - Motivating Employees PowerPoint Presentation - ID:403215

What Is A Conditioned Reinforcer? ABA – hi my name is Kate Harrison I'm a board
certified behavior analyst and a behavior consultant with Brett DiNovi and associates today I'm going to be talking to you about the bacb task FK 18
of the fourth edition task list conditioned reinforcement and why this
is an important term to be familiar with with your application of applied
behavior analysis have you ever been in a situation where you a parent or a
colleague has said something along the lines of she just doesn't have any
reinforcers or maybe it sounded like you will only work through the gummies or
how about he doesn't want any of his reinforcers behavior analysts we should
always be programming for generalization which requires us to evaluate the
reinforcing potential of contingencies in the natural environment to many of
the individuals that we work with these natural contingencies do not without
intentional pairing service reinforcers additionally we must consider the
environment and motivating operations when considering a similary enforcing
value a stimulus may serve as a reinforcer for an individual in one
environment under certain circumstances but may not serve as a reinforcer for
the same individual in a different environment under different
circumstances and finally like the examples mentioned earlier we may be
working with an individual who has a limited repertoire of reinforcing
stimuli in which the potential for satiation is quite high if you've ever
been in a situation where your learner has become satiated to your entire bank
of reinforcers you know what a challenge this presents in making meaningful
progress in their 2014 research taylor santa and colleagues label
identification of reinforcers as an essential step in developing
interventions for individuals with autism and go on to share that while the
field has established a large body of research on individual preferences of
available reinforcers there's limited research on specific recommendations for
how to conduct or evaluate conditioning procedures let's review some terminology
reinforcements regardless of whether it's conditioned or unconditioned a
reinforcer has the defining characteristic of increasing future
probability of targeted behaviors unconditioned reinforcer this is a
stimulus change that increases future occurrences of targeted behaviors and
the unconditioned means that this occurs without any prior learning history an
unconditioned reinforcer is also called a primary or unlearned reinforcer an
example would be something like a snack conditioned reinforcer this is a
previously neutral stimulus that following the pairing with an
unconditioned or pairing with previously conditioned reinforcing stimuli has
acquired the same reinforcing effects as the stimulus in which it was paired a
conditioned reinforcer is sometimes called a secondary or learned reinforcer
an example would be something like a high-five a doll or play-doh if these
items increase future behavior through conditioning procedures we have the
opportunity to develop new reinforcers introduced generalized conditioned
reinforcement like token economy systems and the potential to expand a learner's
interest and novel activities conditioning reinforcer should be
carefully considered in programming in addition to assessing reinforcer
preference prior to proceeding with any pairing procedures the item should be
presented to the learner to see if it sparks any interest they learn
colleagues review five different pairing procedures used to condition reinforcers
trace pairing this is when the neutral stimulus is presented and then
terminated before the presentation of the reinforcing stimulus stimulus
pairing this happens when a neutral stimulus and a reinforcing stimulus are
presented and terminated at the same time response stimulus pairing this is
when the just mentioned simultaneous pairing procedure is used but only
contingent upon a response delay pairing this is what a neutral stimulus is
presented before and with a little bit of overlap with the presentation of the
reinforcing stimulus pairing using a discrimination training procedure this
is when the neutral stimulus is first established as a discriminative stimulus
or SD reinforcing a specific response in its
presence depending on the individual the above-mentioned methods for conditioning
reinforcers have each displayed success in conditioning new reinforcers for
individuals Cooper and colleagues note that there aren't any standards for
physical properties that determine a stimuli x' permanent status as a
reinforcer in one condition a simulus may serve as a reinforcer but
it might serve as a Punisher in another condition it is for this reason that a
be a clinician should be familiar with not only conducting preference
assessments for current repertoires of reinforcers but also for how to develop
new reinforcers by conditioning novel stimuli behavior analysis could benefit
by expanding on current research to a point in which specific recommendations
could be made to guide clinicians in conditioning reinforcers determining how
to maintain the reinforcing effectiveness of a previously neutral
stimuli would be essential in creating such a technology do you incorporate
conditioning procedures to expand reinforcers in your ABA programming do
teach it to your staff we want to hear from you leave your comments in the
notes below thanks for watching .

11/13/09PsychReview2 – .

Operant Conditioning: Behavior & Consequences (Intro Psych Tutorial #62) – Hi, I'm Michael Corayer and this is Psych Exam Review.
In the previous videos we've been talking about classical conditioning and you might have noticed that in classical conditioning the organism that's being conditioned is fairly passive. So Pavlov's dogs are just standing there, bells are ringing and food is being placed in front of them and then they have a response; salivating. Or little Albert is sitting there and a rat is being put in front of him and loud noise is occurring behind him and then he responds by crying or showing distress. But it's also the case that animals act first they start off a cascade of events, they don't wait for things to happen in order to learn. They perform behaviors, those behaviors have consequences, and then those consequences influence subsequent behavior. So this brings us to the idea of operation conditioning. In operant conditioning the focus is on the animal operating on the environment. The animal does something first and then this has consequences and those consequences can lead to learning. They can influence subsequent behavior. So one of the first researchers in this area was Edward Thorndike. Here's a picture of Thorndike here. Thorndike worked with cats in these devices he called "puzzle boxes". So what's a puzzle box? What Thorndike did was he put cats, here's something vaguely resembling a cat, here's our cat, he looks impossibly skinny, but that's appropriate because these cats were hungry in this experiment. What Thorndike did was he took a cat and he put him inside a puzzle box. So a puzzle box was this specially designed cage here and inside the cage there was a lever. The lever was connected to this spring-loaded front door here so that when the cat stepped on the lever the front door would spring open. And just outside the cage we have a bowl of food. The cat, as I said, is hungry. So, let's give the cat eyes here so he can see that food. So the cat gets put inside the puzzle box and the first time Thorndike put the cat in the box, the cat would randomly happen to step on the lever at some point. He's moving around the cage, he accidentally steps on the lever, the door springs open, and he gets the food. But Thorndike found that on subsequent trials if he kept putting the cat in the same puzzle box eventually the cat would learn what the lever was doing. The cat would press the lever more quickly. So Thorndike tracked the time that it took the cat to get out of the box on each trial. He found, not too surprisingly, that the cats got faster and faster. They essentially learned that the lever opens the door. Eventually you put the cat in the box and he immediately goes and presses the lever so he can get out and get the food. That shows that learning has occurred. He's learned what the lever does, the lever leads to getting food. Based on this, Thorndike proposed the Law of Effect. The Law of Effect is quite simple, it just says that behaviors that have positive consequences are more likely to be repeated. So if stepping on a lever gets you food when you're hungry, then you're going to be more likely to step on the lever in the future. The Law of Effect is just that behaviors with positive consequences are more likely to be repeated. This makes sense. If you do something and something good happens as a result of that, you're more likely to do that thing in the future. in the future now another researcher who expanded on Thorndike's ideas and was most associated with operant conditioning is a guy named Burrhus Frederic Skinner. It shouldn't be surprising that with a name like Burrhus, he went by B.F. Skinner. Let's change color here. I said Skinner expanded on Thorndike's ideas, here's a picture of Skinner here. Skinner is considered one of the most influential psychologists of all time for his work on operant conditioning. Skinner investigated the idea of how behavior influences, or how behavior is changed by the consequences that follow it. He referred to anything that increases a behavior as reinforcement. Sorry my handwriting is fairly atrocious. Reinforcement is anything that increases the likelihood of a behavior. It makes a behavior more likely to occur. So we say it reinforces the behavior, it strengthens it, it makes it more likely. Skinner distinguished between things that he called primary reinforcers: a primary reinforcer is something that is just naturally reinforcing. If you're a hungry cat then food is a primary reinforcer. It's just, it's good. There's no question about that, you want it. Food would be a primary reinforcer. Or if you're cold, warmth would be a primary reinforcer. You're naturally going to want this, it's going to be good to have. On the other hand, there's things that require some learning in order for you to know that they're good. So primary reinforcers are just natural. You don't have to teach a hungry cat anything to want food, it just naturally wants it. But secondary reinforcers have to be learned. In the case of humans, this would be something like money. Money is a great example of a secondary reinforcer. Why is that? Well, if you're hungry you don't eat money, right? But you still find it rewarding, it's going to reinforce certain behaviors because you know that you can use money to buy food. You've learned that money is associated with other primary reinforcers. You can use the money to pay your heating bill. Now you won't be cold anymore. So money is a secondary reinforcer. It doesn't directly get you the things you want, but it's one step removed from that. It's secondary, but it's still reinforcing because you know you can use it to get those things. Similarly, grades would be a secondary reinforcer. So I can give you a sheet of paper with an A on it, that's not naturally going to do anything special for you So why are grades reinforcing, why do they encourage you to do certain behaviors? Because they're associated with other primary reinforcers. So if your parents are buying you ice cream for getting good grades, now you see the reason to get good grades. But you have to learn that association. Or even if they're just giving you praise, that would be a primary reinforcer. So the grades are associated with these other reinforcers and that's why they're able to influence behavior. Another thing that differentiated was that reinforcement came in different types. First we have what he called positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement involves giving you something that's good. You're adding something good. So it's positive. If I give you an ice cream every time you do your homework then that's going to increase the likelihood that you'll do your homework the next day, right? If you do your homework you get an ice cream, do that over and over you're going to be more likely to complete your homework. So the reinforcement, remember, always increases behavior. Any time you see the word reinforcement remember we're talking about increasing a behavior. This applies even if we have what's called negative reinforcement. So we're still going to increase the behavior, but in this way we do it by taking away something bad. So if I keep giving you electric shocks and you say "I'll do anything to stop these electric shocks" I say "Ok, do your homework". So you do your homework and I stop the electric shocks. I'm removing something bad and in doing that I'm increasing the behavior. I'm getting you to do your homework more often. Tomorrow I say "Ok, are you going to do your homework?" you say "oh yes, anything to get those electric shocks to stop". That's kind of a silly example but a more realistic example would be if you have a headache and you take an aspirin. So the behavior is taking an aspirin. The result is that it makes your headache go away. If that works then next time you have a headache, what are you going to reach for? You're going to reach for the aspirin. You're going to repeat that behavior. You've increased the behavior of taking aspirin not because you get anything out of it, what you get is that the headache goes away. You take something away. So that's why it's called negative reinforcement. You're taking away something in order to increase a behavior. Skinner also investigated the role of punishment. So if a reinforcement always increases behavior then you can say punishment always reduces behavior. So if we're reducing a behavior then it's a punishment. This is a common trap that students fall into. They get mixed up with negative reinforcement and punishment and things. Just remember reinforcement always increases the behavior. Whether it's positive or negative reinforcement, the end result is the behavior increases. Punishment always reduces the behavior. it always results in less of that behavior. So what are the two forms of punishment? You've probably already guessed they're positive punishment and negative punishment. In the case of positive punishment we reduce the behavior by giving something bad. So if you press this button and you get an electric shock, what are the odds that you're going to press the button again? They're going to be lower, it's going to reduce the behavior. You don't want to press that button if it's painful. That's going to reduce the behavior so that's an example of positive punishment. Pressing the button gives you an electric shock, that's bad, so don't press the button. Then we have negative punishment. Negative punishment refers to taking away something that's good. So we remove something that you want. Remove something good. In this case, let's say you're speeding when you're driving. What do you get for that? You get a fine. What's a fine? A fine is a negative punishment. They take away something good, in this case, money. You like having money, now you have less of it. The lesson you should learn from that is to that behavior, reduce the speeding behavior. So that's an example of negative punishment. This is also called, in some texts you may see this called omission training. We reduce a behavior by taking away something desirable. If I take away your food when you do something, so if you put your elbows on the dinner table or something and I take away your food, that's going to reduce this behavior of putting your elbows on the table, something like that. Now we can already see one of the problems with punishment, if we return to this speeding example, is that it tells you what not to do but it doesn't tell you what you're supposed to do. So if you get a ticket for speeding it doesn't actually tell you how to be a good driver. It just tells you, "don't speed". In fact even then it doesn't tell you that message very clearly. There's probably some times you speed and you don't get get. So the real lesson you learn is "OK, you can speed, as long as you don't get caught". So rather than reducing speeding behavior you might reduce other behaviors like "don't drive on this road where the cops are always pulling people over". You can still speed, just do it somewhere else. Or maybe it changes your behavior to make sure you look around for cops more often or do whatever you can to avoid getting caught rather than reducing speeding. So that's a problem with punishment, it doesn't give clear instructions about what you're supposed to do. Whereas reinforcement tells you "that behavior is good, I want more of that. Press that button you get a reward." Ok, then I know what I'm supposed to do, I'm supposed to press that button. OK so we'll go into more detail on reinforcement and punishment in future videos and we'll look at now different schedules of providing these rewards and punishments can influence behavior. I hope you found this helpful, if so, please like the video and subscribe to the channel for more. Thanks for watching! .