What makes a reinforcer reinforcing?

….given a persons individual history and current motivational state, and the environmental conditions, “any stimulus change can be a ‘reinforcer’ if the characteristics of the change and the temporal relation of the change to the response under observation are properly selected”, Schoenfeld, 1995).

In other words, whether something is reinforcing/punishing depends on many variables. It is not a given that something will be reinforcing/punishing to a learner all the time.

The words reinforcer and punisher indicate a functional relationship, not the consequence itself.


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