In What Kind of Conditioning is an Undesirable Stimulus is Removed to Increase a Behavior

In certain types of conditioning, an unpleasant or undesirable stimulus is gradually removed or decreased in intensity to encourage a desired behavior. This conditioning technique is often used in therapy and animal training. For instance, if you want your dog to sit when you give the command, you might initially provide a treat as a positive reinforcement. However, over time, you can start to gradually reduce the frequency and amount of treats given, while still giving praise when your dog sits. This removal of the treat (undesirable stimulus) serves to reinforce the behavior (sitting) by making it less likely for your dog to repeat the behavior in order to receive the treat.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a type of conditioning in which an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase a behavior. This is in contrast to negative reinforcement, in which an undesirable stimulus is added to decrease a behavior.

Positive reinforcement can be used to increase a variety of behaviors, such as:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Sleeping
  • Playing
  • Working

There are many different ways to use positive reinforcement. Some common methods include:

  • Giving a child a treat for doing their homework
  • Praising an employee for completing a project on time
  • Giving a dog a bone for sitting

Positive reinforcement can be an effective way to increase a behavior. However, it is important to use it correctly. If the undesirable stimulus is not removed immediately after the behavior, the behavior is less likely to increase.

Verbal praiseGiving someone a compliment or telling them they did a good job.
Tangible rewardsGiving someone a physical object, such as a toy, candy, or money.
Social rewardsGiving someone attention, affection, or approval.

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is a type of operant conditioning in which an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase the likelihood of a desired behavior being repeated. It involves two key components: a response (behavior) and a consequence (removal of an aversive stimulus).

How Negative Reinforcement Works

  • An undesirable stimulus is present.
  • A desired behavior occurs.
  • The undesirable stimulus is removed or reduced.
  • The desired behavior increases in frequency.

Example of Negative Reinforcement

Example of Negative Reinforcement
Loud noiseCovering earsNoise is turned offEar covering behavior increases

In this example, the loud noise is an undesirable stimulus. When the person covers their ears to reduce the noise, the behavior is reinforced by the removal of the aversive stimulus. As a result, the ear covering behavior will likely increase in frequency.

Benefits of Negative Reinforcement

* Can be effective in changing behaviors that would otherwise be difficult to reinforce.
* Does not require the presentation of a positive stimulus, which can be valuable in situations where desirable rewards are limited.
* Can help maintain desired behaviors without constantly providing positive reinforcement.

Escape Conditioning

Escape conditioning is a form of operant conditioning where an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase the likelihood of a certain behavior. This can be a powerful tool for shaping behavior, as it provides a clear and immediate reward for the desired action.

**Key Elements of Escape Conditioning:**

  1. Antecedent: An undesirable stimulus is present.
  2. Behavior: The organism performs an action that removes the undesirable stimulus.
  3. Consequence: The undesirable stimulus is removed, which reinforces the behavior.


A child who is afraid of dogs may learn to escape their fear by running away from them. As the child runs away from the dog, the fear subsides, which reinforces the behavior of running away.

Comparison of Escape and Avoidance Conditioning
Escape ConditioningAvoidance Conditioning
StimulusUndesirable stimulus presentUndesirable stimulus absent
BehaviorRemoves undesirable stimulusPrevents undesirable stimulus from occurring
ConsequenceUndesirable stimulus removedUndesirable stimulus avoided

Avoidance Conditioning

Avoidance conditioning is a type of operant conditioning in which an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase a behavior. This type of conditioning is often used to train animals to avoid certain behaviors, such as biting or scratching. It can also be used to help people overcome fears and phobias.

  • How does avoidance conditioning work?

Avoidance conditioning works by pairing an undesirable stimulus with a behavior. For example, if you want to train your dog not to bite, you could pair the act of biting with a loud noise or a spray of water. Over time, your dog will learn to associate the act of biting with the unpleasant stimulus, and they will be less likely to bite in the future.

  • What are the benefits of avoidance conditioning?

Avoidance conditioning can be an effective way to change behavior. It is a relatively simple and straightforward technique, and it can be used to train a wide variety of behaviors. Avoidance conditioning can also be used to help people overcome fears and phobias.

  • What are the limitations of avoidance conditioning?

Avoidance conditioning can be an effective way to change behavior, but it also has some limitations. One limitation is that avoidance conditioning can only suppress behavior, it cannot eliminate it. This means that if the undesirable stimulus is removed, the behavior is likely to return.

Another limitation of avoidance conditioning is that it can lead to anxiety and fear. This is because the individual learns to associate the behavior with the unpleasant stimulus, and they may become anxious or fearful even when the stimulus is not present.

Type of ConditioningDefinition
Classical conditioningA type of learning in which a neutral stimulus is paired with a meaningful stimulus, so that the neutral stimulus eventually elicits the same response as the meaningful stimulus.
Operant conditioningA type of learning in which a behavior is reinforced or punished, depending on its consequences.
Avoidance conditioningA type of operant conditioning in which an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase a behavior.

**Conditioning: Removing Undesirable Stimuli**

Hey there, curious minds!

Today, we’re diving into the world of conditioning, a process where we learn to associate certain stimuli with specific responses. But here’s a twist: this time, we’re talking about removing an undesirable stimulus to strengthen a desired behavior.

Let’s break it down, shall we? Picture this: you’re a pup in training, and your human companion says “No!” every time you bark at the mailman. Over time, you learn to associate the sound of “No!” with something you don’t like (the mailman going away). So, you start to bark less because the consequence you once dreaded has disappeared.

This technique is called **negative reinforcement**. It doesn’t involve any punishment or pain; it simply removes something the animal finds unpleasant to reinforce a desired behavior. It’s like training a picky eater to finish their broccoli – you remove the hated brussels and give them the peas they love instead.

But hold your horses! Negative reinforcement can be tricky, so use it wisely. Too much of it can lead to frustration and even aggression. Think of it like a spicy curry: a little goes a long way, but too much can set your belly on fire.

That’s it for today, folks! Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to swing by again for more paw-some conditioning tips and tricks. Stay curious, my friends!