Competitive Exams: Learning


It is an aversive stimulus or event that follows the response and decrease the likelihood of response being repeated. In order to be effective punishments

  1. should be strong.

  2. should immediately follow the response.

  3. should not be arbitrarily administered.

  4. should be accompanied with a reason.

  5. should be followed by positive reinforcement for desired behaviour. Severe punishment may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Omission of Reinforcement or Omission of Training

Positive reinforcement is withdrawn following the display of undesirable behaviour with the intention to decrease the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated.

Shaping and Chaining

  1. Concrete reinforcers externally administered (i.e.. Administered by an outside agency).

  2. Symbolic reinforcers externally administered.

  3. Self administered symbolic administers.

  4. Behaviour becomes integral part of one's personality and is displayed for the reason of intrinsic reinforcement.


It is based on the principle that little can eventually go a long way. The organism undergoing shaping receives a reward for each small step towards the final goal rather than receiving a reward only for the final response. Therefore it is a technique in which closed and closer approximations of the desired behaviour are required for the delivery of reinforcement. Shaping involves two components

  1. Differential reinforcement.

  2. Successive approximations.

The subject is made to reach the desired behaviour by reinforcing the steps leading to it.