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The Principles of Behavior Modification #1 Reinforcement

Positive and negative reinforcement are processes that strengthen a behavior
By 양미린 Mirin Yang, MA

Reinforcement is one of the basic elements in behavior modification.



In behavioral modification, ‘reinforcement’ is the process in which a behavior is strengthened by the immediate ‘consequence‘ that reliably follows its occurrence.  The consequence refers to any stimulant that can affect the occurrence of an operant behavior. The stimulant is called a ‘reinforcer’.





Positive and negative reinforcement are processes that strengthen a behavior; they both increase the probability that the behavior will occur in the future. As an example of ‘positive reinforcement’, a child who doesn’t complete his homework can be rewarded with an hour’s viewing of his favorite cartoon on weekends when he finishes his homework given that week. An example of ‘negative reinforcement’, can be an exclusion from doing chores. Unlike positive reinforcement it eliminates unwanted consequences to strengthen the operant behavior.

When using reinforcement techniques, it is very important to choose an appropriate reinforcer. For children who are not interested in cartoons, watching cartoons cannot be a reinforcer. As such, the child is likely to continue to incomplete homework. Therefore, it is very important to find and apply effective reinforcer in the therapy.





The Tree Group uses various behavioral therapeutic techniques to effectively improve symptoms of ASD, ADHD, aggression, and emotional dysregulation in many psychiatric disorders. The Tree Group’s Behavior Modification Program is performed by behavior modification experts based on the latest academic literature in psychology. Please refer to the following page for further details of the program:

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