Negative reinforcement

Negative reinforcement
See also

Negative Reinforcement is a strategy that ensures prevention of negative affect, such as deciding to take an antacid before you indulge in a spicy meal. Commonly those issues are caused by an improvement[1].


A standout amongst the most ideal approaches to recall negative support is to consider it something being subtracted from the circumstance. In negative fortification, a reaction or conduct is reinforced by halting, expelling, or staying away from a negative result or aversive boost. Aversive upgrades will in general include some sort of uneasiness, either physical or mental. Practices are contrarily strengthened when they enable you to escape from aversive improvements that are now present or enable you to totally maintain a strategic distance from the aversive upgrades before they occur[2].

Negative Reinforcement vs. Punishment[edit]

One mistake that people often make is confusing negative reinforcement with punishment. Remember, however, that negative reinforcement involves the removal of a negative condition to strengthen a behavior. Punishment, on the other hand, involves either presenting or taking away a stimulus to weaken a behavior. Below is an example of the difference between Negative Reinforcement and Punishment[3]:

  • Timmy is supposed to clean his room every Saturday morning. Last weekend, he went out to play with his friend without cleaning his room. As a result, his father made him spend the rest of the weekend doing other chores like cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn, and weeding the garden, in addition to cleaning his room.

If you said that this was an example of punishment, then you are correct. Because Timmy didn't clean his room, his father punished him by having to do extra chores.

Examples of Negative Reinforcement[edit]

Learn more by looking at the following examples[4]:

  • Before heading out for a day at the beach, you slather on sunscreen (the behavior) to avoid getting sunburned (removal of the aversive stimulus).
  • You decide to clean up your mess in the kitchen (the behavior) to avoid getting into a fight with your roommate (removal of the aversive stimulus).
  • On Monday morning, you leave the house early (the behavior) to avoid getting stuck in traffic and being late for work (removal of an aversive stimulus).
  • At dinner time, a child pouts and refuses to each the vegetables on her plate. Her parents quickly take the offending veggies away. Since the behavior (pouting) led to the removal of the aversive stimulus (the veggies).


  1. (C.C.Bergin.,D.A.Bergin.,2011,p.88)
  2. (C.C.Bergin.,D.A.Bergin.,2011,p.89)
  3. (Flora.S.R.,2012,p.253)
  4. (C.C.Bergin.,D.A.Bergin.,2011,p.85)



Author: Bohdan Zaporozhchenko