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John B. Watson on Reinforcement - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 11
Reinforcement/conditioning/learning/Watson/Upton: Watson thesis: learning occurs through operant conditioning, when an association is made between a behaviour and the consequence of that behaviour. Two kinds of reinforcers:
Positive reinforcers are favourable outcomes presented after the behaviour. In positive reinforcement, a response or behaviour is strengthened by the addition of something such as praise or a direct reward.
Negative reinforcers involve the removal of an unfavourable outcome after the display of a behaviour. In negative reinforcement a response is strengthened by the removal of something considered unpleasant.
Punisment/Watson: two kinds:
Positive punishment involves the presentation of an unfavourable outcome in order to weaken the response it follows.
Negative punishment occurs when a favourable outcome is removed after a behaviour occurs.
Current Research/Upton: Although we now believe development to be far more complex than behaviourism allows, modern application of many of the ideas presented in Watson’s learning theory can still be found, most especially in Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) – an intervention programme often used with children with behavioural or learning difficulties.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Watson, John B.
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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