Copyright

Conditioned Reinforcement: Definition & Explanation

Conditioned Reinforcement: Definition & Explanation
Coming up next: Negative Reinforcement: Examples & Definition

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 What Is Conditioned…
  • 0:13 Example
  • 1:04 Conditioned and…
  • 1:53 More Examples
  • 2:36 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

You've probably heard the story of Pavlov's dogs, but did you know this is an example of conditioned reinforcement? Learn more about conditioned reinforcement and how it differs from primary reinforcement. Then test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Is Conditioned Reinforcement?

Conditioned reinforcement occurs when a stimulus reinforces, or strengthens, set behaviors through its association with a primary reinforcer. But what does that all mean?

Example of Conditioned Reinforcement

Millie is a first grade teacher who is well known for her delicious treats that she likes to bake for her students. Throughout the week, Millie watches her students closely. Whenever she spots a student who is on-task, following the rules, or exceeding some set classroom expectation, she hands the student a red token. At the end of the week, the students turn in their tokens to receive one of Millie's treats. As the school year progresses, Millie's students work harder and harder to get the red tokens, knowing that they can expect a treat at the end of the week.

This is an example of conditioned reinforcement. Millie used the red tokens to reinforce positive student behaviors. She was able to do this by pairing the tokens with food, which is a primary reinforcer. But what is a primary reinforcer?

Conditioned and Primary Reinforcement

Primary reinforcement occurs when a stimulus is naturally able to reinforce behaviors. Primary reinforcers satisfy a biological need and do not require any learning. Examples of primary reinforcers include food, sleep, and water. In order for conditioned reinforcement to occur, there must be a learned association between a stimuli and a primary reinforcer. For example, red tokens do not naturally reinforce positive student behaviors. However, once the students learned to associate the red tokens with food, the red tokens were able to reinforce positive student behaviors. Another term for conditioned reinforcement is secondary reinforcement.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support