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Understanding How Reinforcement Works

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The concept of “reinforcement” has a long history in psychology. Pavlov used the term reinforcement to explain the strengthening of the association between the sound of a bell and the production of saliva in dogs during respondent conditioning, also known as classical conditioning.

Skinner used the term reinforcement to explain the increased frequency or probability of responding during operant conditioning, also known as instrumental conditioning.

Skinner’s work gave rise to the branch of psychology known as the experimental analysis of behavior. The Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior publishes results of basic science research concerning the necessary and sufficient conditions required to predictably modify behavior.

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