Positive and Negative Reinforcers

Essay by KansascityCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

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My ask the class question is in relation to operant conditioning by negative and positive reinforcements. Operant conditioning is the control of behavior through consequence. Consequences positive and negative help to regulate and control behavior. It is my understanding that consequences positive and negative are to be looked at as reinforcers. A positive reinforcer strengthens the behavior that produces it while a negative reinforcer strengthens behavior that reduces or eliminates it.

This example is of criminal offenders in our judicial system. Our courts use obvious negative reinforcers. For example: Fines, jail time, prison time, and the worst being death. The negative reinforcers that our courts impose on those who participate in illegal activities hit deeper than the actual punishment itself. For example, when a person speeds they must pay a fine for the offense, but in addition to the fine they lose time at work appearing in court which results in lost income.

On top of the above-mentioned consequences, insurance goes up further imposing financial burden. So of course this person is wishing they never had sped fore this person is a young single parent who has not the funds available to cover such expenditures. This person failing for whatever reason to pay the fines within the time given now has a warrant for her arrest and a suspension of her driver's license. All she can do now is pray that she does not get pulled over and hopes that her job goes well so that she can save the money needed to take care of this mess. This woman has now developed a very high level of anxiety in which she attempts to cope by smoking, drinking, and sweating with all the weight she now has upon her shoulders. One morning this miserable woman is on her way to...