In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is a consequence applied that will strengthen an organism’s future behavior whenever that behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus. This strengthening effect may be measured as a higher frequency of behavior (e.g., pulling a lever more frequently), longer duration (e.g., pulling a lever for longer periods of time), greater magnitude (e.g., pulling a lever with greater force), or shorter latency (e.g., pulling a lever more quickly following the antecedent stimulus).

The model of self regulation which has three main aspects of human behavior which are self awareness, self reflection and self regulation. Reinforcements traditionally align with self regulation. The behavior is determined by the consequence but behavior also needs antecedents. There are four types of reinforcement. Positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, extinction, and punishment. Positive reinforcement is the application of a positive reinforcer. Negative reinforcement states that if you do not reach the residents goal, something will happen. Achieve the goal or else.

Extension involves a behavior that requires no contingent consequence. If something (good or bad) is not reinforced it should in theory disappear. Lastly, punishment is an imposition of aversive consequence upon undesired behavior. Punishment by removal is a common example or removing a benefit following poor performance. While Reinforcement does not require an individual to consciously perceive an effect elicited by the stimulus, it still requires conscious effort to work towards a desired goal.

Rewarding stimuli, which are associated with “wanting” and “liking” (desire and pleasure, respectively) and appetitive behavior, function as positive reinforcers;[1] the converse statement is also true: positive reinforcers provide a desirable stimulus

.[1] Reinforcement does not require an individual to consciously perceive an effect elicited by the stimulus

.[2] Thus, reinforcement occurs only if there is an observable strengthening in behavior. However, there is also negative reinforcement, which is characterized by taking away an undesirable stimulus. Changing someone’s job might serve as a negative reinforcer to someone who suffers from back problems, i.e. Changing from a labourers job to an office position for instance.

In most cases, the term “reinforcement” refers to an enhancement of behavior, but this term is also sometimes used to denote an enhancement of memory; for example, “post-training reinforcement” refers to the provision of a stimulus (such as food) after a learning session in an attempt to increase the retained breadth, detail, and duration of the individual memories or overall memory just formed

.[3] The memory-enhancing stimulus can also be one whose effects are directly rather than only indirectly emotional, as with the phenomenon of “flashbulb memory,” in which an emotionally highly intense stimulus can incentivize memory of a set of a situation’s circumstances well beyond the subset of those circumstances that caused the emotionally significant stimulus, as when people of appropriate age are able to remember where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy or September 11 terrorist attacks.[4]