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ABA Terms

Positive Reinforcement

Definition

A stimulus (an object or event) follows a response that increases the likelihood that the same response will occur again.

Example

Jenny says, “drink” and her mom gives her a drink. Jenny says,”drink” in the future when thirsty.

Negative Reinforcement

Definition

A stimulus is removed following a response that increases the likelihood that the same response will occur again.

Example

Matt says, “all done” and his mom allows him to be excused from the table. Matt continues to say, “all done” in the future when finished eating.

Positive Punishment

Definition

A stimulus (an object or event) follows a response that decreases the likelihood that the same response will occur again.

Example

Negative Punishment

Definition

A stimulus is removed following a response that decreases the likelihood that the same response will occur again.

Example

Jill didn’t do he homework and then lost recess for the day; Jill now always completed her homework.

Shaping

Definition

Teaching a new behavior reinforcing successive approximations of the desired behavior

Example

When teaching a child a new word such as cup, you begin with reinforcing “c-” then “cu” and eventually the full word “cup”.

Differential Reinforcement

Definition

Reinforcing one form of behavior while withholding reinforcement of a different form.

Example

Calling on a student with a hand raised but not calling on a student yelling the teacher’s name.

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