Positive Reinforcement And Its Effect On Children

1740 Words Nov 26th, 2014 7 Pages
Can positive reinforcement in some way harm children or adolescents through our use of trying to pull out certain desired behaviors or traits within them? Over the past century researchers have struggled to come up with methods to how parents can better manage their children, but there has also been research going on at the same time asking whether or not these methods are actually helping children, or harming them. The dictionary definition of positive reinforcement is "the offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future"1. In behaviorism, this happens when a reward is given for a desired behavior, often known as a reinforcer. This is used frequently in operant conditioning in order to increase the chances that certain behaviors will occur. To further understand the effects of positive reinforcement on behavior, we need to look at the reward aspect of positive reinforcement and separate it into two forms, extrinsic rewards, and intrinsic motivation.
This particular focus of positive reinforcement and its effects on those around us have been around for years. One of the earliest studies done within the last 50 years was on research giving insight on intrinsic motivation by showing that monkeys could solve special puzzles despite there being an absence of food or any other reward ( Harlow, Harlow, & Meyer, 1950). Intrinsic motivation can be seen when people participate in…
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