Primary and Secondary Reinforcers
We use reinforcement to increase appropriate behaviors. The effectiveness of reinforcement depends on an individual’s preference. While some items or activities are preferred for some individuals, they may be aversive for others. When using positive reinforcement, we must ensure that the reinforcers we are presenting actually function as reinforcers. Also, keep in mind that just because you may like or enjoy something, it does not mean you will respond to gain access. One may like doing puzzles, but one may not be willing to run five miles to gain access to a puzzle.
- List five preferred items or activities that you enjoy.
- Categorize these five items or activities into primary or secondary reinforcers.
- Explain why each is an example of a primary reinforcer or a secondary reinforcer. What primary reinforcers are the secondary reinforcers likely paired with?
- If any are secondary reinforcers, speculate how they may have come to be secondary reinforcers. What were the primary reinforcers with which they may have been paired?
Read the posts of your peers and respond to two. Your response should be substantive and demonstrate your understanding of the material. What aspects of the post do you like or agree with and why? Are there areas that are not clear? Did the post spark questions that you would like to ask your peer? In this, and in all of your courseroom posts, be sure to keep your tone scholarly, respectful, and professional.
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