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I had to do a learning project in Psych.
For my project I taught myself to make my bed every day using operant conditioning. If I made my bed within 5 mintues of waking up, my mom would give me 5 dollars. I know this is positive reinforcement. However, I failed to make my bed within 5 mintues, my mom would take away my cell phone away from me for the entire day.
My question is, is her taking my phone away negative reinforcement? I can never tell the difference between neg. reinforcement and punishments.
Also, is this a fixed-interval schedule?

  • Psychology -

    IT is a punishment.

    STimulus: alarm ringing
    response: make bed
    reinforcement: payment immediately, however, a donut and hot chocolate would be more effective. Now if you didn't make it up in 5 min, you get granola and skim milk (negative reinforcement).

    Punishment is entirely another matter. Reinforcements should be positve (wanted) by the subject. Money at 6am is not necessarily a positive reinforcement.

    Here is another example of neg reinforcement and punishment.

    You negative gossip about your friends sister in front of her: If she gives postive reinforcement (like agreeing, and joining in, etc) you keep it up. If you see her glare and be silent, that is negative reinforcement. If she smacks you with her fist, that is punishment.

    Operant conditioning requires a stimulus, a behaviour, and a reinforcer.

    tele rings, you pick it up and say hellow, and reinforcer is a friend who chats. Now what happens when AT&T is on the line, and starts to sell you long distance? If they call like this several times, you stop answering the tele when it rings. This is operant conditioning...

  • Psychology -

    Both positive and negative reinforcements are reinforcements, which mean that they lead the previous responses to increase. However, positive reinforcement is giving a reward, while negative reinforcement is taking away an aversive stimulus. Shortening a prison sentence for good behavior would be a better example of negative reinforcement.

    Here is another example. When a child is throwing a tantrum, giving in to the child's demands will stop the tantrum, providing a negative reinforcement for the parent or caretaker. See

    Taking away the phone, glaring and silence (social disapproval) and smacking are all punishments — leading to a temporary reduction in a response.

    A fixed-interval schedule reinforces according to the passage ot time. The organism is reinforced only at the end of a specific period for a minimal response during that period. For instance, a rat might receive food after one minute, if it presses a bar once during that minute. Regardless of how many additional prresses the animal gives, it only gets the one reinforcement at the end of the minute. The rat eventually learns to respond minimally atthe beginning of the period and much more near the end of the minute. Hourly wages are another example of fixed-interval reinforcement.

    Any task with a deadline tends to be a fixed-interval — for example, midterm and final exams. Typically, student responses related to these tasks tend to increase as the deadline approaches, leading many students to "cram" for exams. The same is true for the due date for term papers.

    Here are some of my lecture notes for various schedules of reinforcement.

    Reinforcement has different effects depending on the schedule of reinforcement.

    I. Continuous (100%) reinforcement means that the organism is reinforced for every desired response. This schedule provides quickest learning, but it is the quickest to go to extinction.

    II. Partial reinforcement is slower to learn, but it takes longer to go to extinction.

    A. Fixed Ratio (FR) involves reinforcing in a direct ratio to number of responses (Rs), but not every R. It leads to a high R rate (piecework, commission examples).

    B. Fixed Interval (FI) involves reinforcement at end of specified period for a minimum R. Regardless of how many Rs give over minimum, only gets same reinforcement at the end of interval. Typically has lower initial R rate but high R rate near the end of each interval. It involves a known deadline (term paper, exams, Xmas examples).

    C. Random, variable interval (VI) or variable ratio (VR) involve receiving reinforcement at unpredictable times. Although the experimenter may be using either VI or VR, to the subject it appears to be random. Although organism cannot predict when reinforcement will come, it expects it to come. This leads to high R rate and about 1:210 ratio between learning trials and extinction. (gambling, superstition, "shark, baseball examples).

    I hope this gives you a better understanding of negative reinforcement and fixed-interval reinforcement. Thanks for asking.

  • Psychology -

    The period at the end of the site addrress made it invalid. Try this one:

    This should work.

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