If I reward myself when I finish my homework by binge watching my favorite show, would I call this an example of negative reinforcement?

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To answer this question, it is important to understand the difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. These are both examples of operant conditioning, which has to do with manipulating the consequences of actions to help reinforce behavior.

In positive reinforcement, something is added to produce the behavior that is desired. An example of positive reinforcement would be the manager of a company offering bonuses to employees for completing important projects on time. Another example would be parents who offer their children allowances if they perform certain chores such as washing dishes or taking out the trash. Teachers giving gold stars or places on honor rolls to students who excel would be another instance of positive reinforcement.

On the other hand, in negative reinforcement, something is taken away to achieve a desired behavior. An example of negative reinforcement in a classroom might be if a teacher cancels homework when students pay attention during lessons. At home, a parent uses negative reinforcement when she relieves children of chores after they perform desired behavior such as eating their vegetables or getting to bed on time.

So, as mentioned above, positive reinforcement is about adding something, while negative reinforcement is about taking something away. According to these definitions, rewarding yourself for finishing your homework by binge watching your favorite show would be an example of positive reinforcement, not negative reinforcement. This is because you are adding something as a reward, namely watching your favorite show, to achieve the desired behavior of completing your homework assignments.

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