Primary vs Secondary Reinforcers & Reinforcement

Primary reinforcement is a type of reinforcement that is delivered immediately after an operant behavior is completed. Secondary reinforcement is a type of reinforcement that is delivered after a behavior is attempted, but before it is completed.

Primary reinforcement is often more effective than secondary reinforcement because it provides a more immediate and intense form of gratification. This can lead to increased rates of behavior as well as increased motivation and

persistence in completing tasks.

Primary reinforcers, such as food or praise, are those that are given as a natural consequence of behavior. Secondary reinforcers are those that are given as a result of the behavior being performed in order to obtain something else such as a reward for completing a task.

Both primary and secondary reinforcers can be effective in reinforcing desirable behaviors. However, there are some key differences between the two types of reinforcers.

Primary reinforcers are often more effective in immediately reinforcing a behavior. This is because they are associated with the natural consequences, such as satisfaction from eating a good meal or receiving compliments from friends, of the behavior.

Secondary reinforcers, on the other hand, can be more effective in long-term reinforcement. This is because they can provide a sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a task or achieving a goal.

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