Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri


  • Anthony R. ArtinoJr.
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2560



Self-reinforcement is a process whereby individuals control their own behavior by rewarding themselves when a certain standard of performance has been attained or surpassed.


Self-reinforcement is a method of self-conditioning that acts to strengthen the association between certain stimuli and certain responses [8]. In the behavioral theory of operant conditioning, the most fundamental principle is that a response followed by a reinforcer is strengthened and is therefore more likely to occur again [7]. Reinforcement, then, is the act of following a response with a reinforcer and is one of the primary tools of operant conditioning.

Socially-mediated reinforcement (or direct reinforcement) involves the delivery of reinforcement from another person [3, 7]. In his description of social cognitive theory, Bandura [3] proposed two other forms of reinforcement: vicarious reinforcement and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Bandura, A. (1976). Self-reinforcement: Theoretical and methodological considerations. Behaviorism, 4, 135–155.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jones, R. T., Nelson, R. E., & Kazdin, A. E. (1977). The role of external variables in self-reinforcement: A review. Behavior Modification, 1, 147–178.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schunk, D. H. (2008). Learning theories: An educational perspective (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of motivation: Evaluating an underemphasized aspect of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(4), 189–205.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wolters, C. A. (2004). Advancing achievement goal theory: Using goal structures and goal orientations to predict students’ motivation, cognition, and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 236–250.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zimmerman, B., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1986). Development of a structured interview for assessing student use of self-regulated learning strategies. American Educational Research Journal, 23, 614–628.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. ArtinoJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine and BiometricsUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA