Negative Reinforcement vs. Positive Reinforcment
In yesterday’s blog, we explored the topic of behavioral reinforcement, differentiating between negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement, and punishment. If you haven’t had a chance to check out yesterday’s blog, we encourage you to do so! Did you get yesterday’s question correct? Read on to find out!
A social worker meets with a 16-year-old girl and her parents due to increasing parental-child conflicts. The parents describe their daughter’s behavior as “out of control” and the daughter describes her parents expectations as “unfair and unreasonable.” The parents explain that they will let their daughter go out with friends on the weekends only if she maintains a 4.0 grade point average. This is best described as an example of:
- Negative Reinforcement
- Positive Reinforcement
- Negative Punishment
- Positive Punishment
The correct answer to this question is B.
- Negative reinforcement (A) would involve taking something away to reinforce the desired behavior. So, if the question stated that the parents would remove her curfew if she maintained a 4.0 grade point average (the desired behavior), that would be negative reinforcement.
- This is positive reinforcement (B) because the parents are adding something (allowing her to go out with friends on the weekends) if she maintains a 4.0 grade point average (the desired behavior).
- Negative punishment (C) would involve removing something to decrease the frequency of an undesired behavior. So, if the question stated that anytime the daughter gets a grade below an A on a test or assignment, she is not allowed to go out with friends for a week, this would be negative punishment. It is taking something pleasant away (going out with friends) in order to decrease the frequency of the undesired behavior (getting below an A).
- Positive punishment (D) would involve adding something undesirable in order to decrease the frequency of an undesired behavior. So, if the question stated that anytime the daughter gets a grade below an A on a test or assignment, she must do an extra chore, that would be positive punishment. It is adding something unpleasant (doing a chore) in order to decrease the frequency of the undesired behavior (getting below an A).
Did you get this question right? If so, you are ready to tackle positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment questions on your LCSW and LMSW exams! If you didn’t, know that we are here to help get you ready to pass your LCSW and LMSW exam!. We have coaches here ready to answer your questions all along the way.
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