The term “reinforcer” refers to a stimulus that follows a behavior and increases the likelihood of that behavior recurring in the future. This stimulus is usually a reward or incentive that provides motivation for individuals to continue engaging in a specific behavior.

Positive Reinforcer

A positive reinforcer is a stimulus that is added or presented after a behavior occurs, resulting in an increase in the frequency or intensity of that behavior. This type of reinforcement strengthens the connection between the behavior and the pleasant outcome, making it more likely for the behavior to be repeated in the future.

Negative Reinforcer

A negative reinforcer is a stimulus that is removed or avoided after a behavior occurs, leading to the strengthening of that behavior. It involves the removal of an unpleasant or aversive stimulus, which serves as a reward for performing the desired behavior. Negative reinforcement encourages individuals to continue engaging in the behavior to avoid or escape the unpleasant stimulus.

Primary Reinforcer

A primary reinforcer is a stimulus that fulfills a basic biological need or desire, such as food, water, or shelter. These stimuli are innately rewarding and do not require any prior conditioning to be considered reinforcing. Primary reinforcers are often used as a foundation for establishing and reinforcing desirable behaviors.

Secondary Reinforcer

A secondary reinforcer, also known as a conditioned reinforcer, is a stimulus that becomes reinforcing through its association with a primary reinforcer or through learned experiences. These stimuli acquire their reinforcing properties by being consistently paired with a primary reinforcer. Examples of secondary reinforcers include money, praise, or social recognition.

Continuous Reinforcement

Continuous reinforcement is a type of reinforcement schedule in which every occurrence of the desired behavior is reinforced or rewarded. This type of reinforcement is effective for establishing new behaviors or when consistency is critical for learning and motivation.

Intermittent Reinforcement

Intermittent reinforcement, also known as partial reinforcement, is a reinforcement schedule in which only some occurrences of the desired behavior are reinforced. This type of reinforcement is often used to maintain and strengthen already established behaviors. It can be based on various schedules, such as fixed ratio, variable ratio, fixed interval, or variable interval.