Reinforcement, or the use of a reinforcer, is a process identified and used within the framework of operant conditioning. In its simplest form, reinforcement occurs if the preceding behavior increases by some measure. It is exclusively identified by its effect on a preceding behavior. If the behavior increases in frequency or probability, duration, strength, rate, or a similar measure, then the condition following the behavior is considered to be a reinforcer. The process of administering, providing access to, encountering, or withdrawing something that results in the increase in frequency, strength, or improvement of a preceding behavior is considered reinforcement.

Reinforcement theory is generally considered to have been developed and refined by B. F. Skinner, during the 1930s–1980s, within the context of behaviorism. He interpreted reinforcement ...

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