Natural vs. Contrived Negative Reinforcement

Here is another fantastic blog by Eileen and Dogs. As usual Eileen Anderson does a great job explaining a complicated concept.

Natural vs. Contrived Negative Reinforcement

Papers blowing

I read the following online the other day:

People shouldn’t object to the use of negative reinforcement! It’s just stuff like washing my hands when they are dirty or drying them when they are wet. What’s wrong with that?

This is a fairly common defense of using negative reinforcement (R-) in training. The defender points out that R- is common in life and trots out a benign-sounding example or two.

Here’s a quick review of the definition of negative reinforcement:

In negative reinforcement, a behavior is strengthened by the removal, or a decrease in the intensity of, a stimulus.–Paul Chance, Learning and Behavior, 7th Edition, 2013

Read the complete Natural vs. Contrived Negative Reinforcement article here >