Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Positive Reinforcement

  • Roberto BarataEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_761-1



Positive reinforcement is an operant procedure in which the addition of a stimulus increases an aspect of a particular behavior. “A positive reinforcer is everything that increases the frequency, intensity or duration of a certain behavior when presented either simultaneously or immediately after that behavior takes place.” (Abrantes 2013, p. 12).


Positive reinforcement it is a widely accepted and used term especially in animal training, because of the pleasant connotations it creates. Skinner’s behavioral model analysis shows more efficiency of using several reinforcement models in behavior modification of humans and nohumans species (Skinner, 1966, 1969, 1987).

‘Positive’ does not describe the nature of the consequence; it indicates the addition of a stimulus. ‘Reinforcement’ indicates a strengthening of an aspect of the behavior.

In operant conditioning, reinforcers (and punishers)...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ethology Institute, IntCambridgeUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kenneth Leising
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Christian UniversityForth WorthUSA