Today’s Episode clarifies the distinction between REINFORCEMENT and REWARD. If you get this right, you win! If you get this wrong, you’ve squandered an opportunity to reinforce, which means that the behavior you’re trying to increase will not increase at all. The takeaway-evaluate your reinforcement. If it’s not changing behavior, it’s not reinforcement. Choose progress by using reinforcement effectively!

Keepin' It 100 is a practical web series by Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education designed to help parents and practitioners learn and apply the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Keepin' It 100 is designed to be a series of 100 videos, each roughly 100 seconds in length over 100 days.

Keepin' It 100: Episode 12

I’ve observed it hundreds of times. Parents and practitioners alike using what they thought was reinforcement when they were simply using rewards that were arbitrarily selected in hopes that it would change behavior. Remember, reinforcement is defined according to its effect that it has on behavior. When you’ve utilized reinforcement effectively, the behavior you’re reinforcing will INCREASE. If the behavior is not increasing, you’re not reinforcing it.

There are a number of applications/action steps for us to pursue based on the content. One, evaluate your reinforcers. Are they changing behavior? If not, select new ones. If so, consider selecting new ones so that reinforcers stay novel and learners do not satiate. 

Remember, the concept of reinforcement is at work EVERYWHERE in our lives. You could be a mom that’s reading this, yet you’re also a manager in a company that’s failing because the staff in that company are completely unmotivated and have no idea what behaviors they should be engaging in. This is applicable to us as parents and practitioners, yet also applicable as leaders in the marketplace. You get the point, reinforcement is vital if we expect behavior change. It’s amazing to us how many individuals want behavior change yet never reinforce the behavior that they’d like increased. Use reinforcement effectively-make progress. It works.

Contact us if you’d like more individualized support or have questions regarding the post! We serve clients throughout Central Texas, including Austin, Bee Cave, Buda, Cedar Park, College Station, Dripping Springs, Lakeway, Leander, and Spicewood. We also provide telemedicine services throughout the country.