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Positive Reinforcement Affects Behavior

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) rocks because it is founded on behavior principles. Where did these principles come from? Some will say they were discovered by scientists like Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner. History purports that these and other men experimented on animals to test environmental variables that controlled behavior. And it appears that they did document ways to control behavior using variables that occur before and after behavior.

What principles of behavior were discovered? Well, the easiest to understand is positive reinforcement. Don't zone out right here thinking you know what this is before I even get to get into this topic. This principle is very powerful. Let's break it down.

Positive = something was added or given

Reinforcement = something that will cause the reinforced behavior to happen again

What are thinking of as an example of positive reinforcement? What can you give a child who is waiting patiently for you to ensure they will wait patiently for you again in the future? Maybe you have tried rushing past the child and saying, "ok, let's go!" While this is reinforcing to you, is it really reinforcing to the child you are talking to? Oh . . . well . . . if that's not reinforcing, what is? This is the big question. For each person reinforcement may be different.

So, what we're really talking about is motivation. If you were given something right NOW that made you feel joyful, chances are you would be motivated to experience joy again. So, you would read this blog again later just incase reading this blog was the reason you received that something.

When we are talking about behavior and changing behavior we are talking about motivation. Positiver reinforcement is a very powerful tool in the ABA toolbox to help children change their behavior. It's not the only too but it's a really good one.

Okay, okay, so you are worried about using bribery. Let's look at that. What is bribery? Bribery is inducing someone to do something illegal. That's not what we are doing here. ABA is not about bribery. At Golden Rule ABA, we are about helping kids understand that challenging behavior is not needed to get what they want and need. We use lots of positive reinforcement like praise, fun, games, attention, and toys. We love to see kids experiencing joy - every day!

Mahalo nui loa for reading. You are AWESOME!


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