Definition: A stimulus presented after a response that increases the probability of that response happening again.

Quite Simply

  • Encouraging a behavior by rewarding it with a positive stimulus, and therefore increasing the chance of it happening again.
  • Adding a positive stimulus to sustain behavior.
  • Remember to think adding (+) stimulus for positive (+) and subtracting (-) stimulus for negative (-).


  • Positive Reinforcement
  • You score a goal during a soccer game, and your team and fans become excited. You are more likely to want to score a goal again after.
  • If you study more, you'll get better grades. The reward is better grades. You are more likely to study again.
  • You correctly answer a question in class, and the teacher smiles and says "Good job!" You will be more willing to answer a question again.
  • Going to the honor roll assembly for getting good grades.
  • Can be used when training a dog by giving the dog a treat every time it follows a command.
  • You clean your room and your mom gives you $20. The reward is the $20. You are more likely to clean your room again in the future.
  • A little kid in the grocery store is screaming for a candy bar. If the mother gives in, the child will learn that screaming=candy and is more likely to scream during the next grocery trip.
  • When a child is learning to walk its parents will praise him/her through smiling and cheering, encouraging the walking.

See Also

Additional Resources