Author Topic: Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?  (Read 4050 times)

Offline stephenmarklay

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Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?
« on: April 22, 2011, 06:49:00 PM »
I was wondering as part of deconditioning can one try to associate a bad or negative thing with a craving?

So I tried this.  I smelled some chocolate and coconut, two things I munch when I first get up with coffee.  Then I drank a cup of hot water with Tumeric.  I hate the taste of Tumeric but I eat it some as I have heard it does have some positive health qualities.  I figure I would kill two birds with one stone.

It certainly stopped my craving for anything dead.

Since I am new to the site and have not read (but I have ordered) conditioned reflexes yet I am still learning Thank you.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 08:19:50 AM »
I was wondering as part of deconditioning can one try to associate a bad or negative thing with a craving?

So I tried this.  I smelled some chocolate and coconut, two things I munch when I first get up with coffee.  Then I drank a cup of hot water with Tumeric.  I hate the taste of Tumeric but I eat it some as I have heard it does have some positive health qualities.  I figure I would kill two birds with one stone.

It certainly stopped my craving for anything dead.

Since I am new to the site and have not read (but I have ordered) conditioned reflexes yet I am still learning Thank you.

Welcome to this site, stephen. The Pavlov book, Conditioned Reflexes, is very solid on the scientific experiments behind conditioning, particularly extinction. But as an introduction to behavioral conditioning, I'd recommend starting with Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot The Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training". The title is somewhat misleading, because the book has very little to do with dog training, but rather addresses fundamental principles of reinforcement and behavioral science, illustrated by an excellent description of real applications to humans -- most importantly ourselves.

Pryor is a world renowned dolphin trainer who realized that her expertise could be applied more generally. She emphasizes that the immediacy and frequency of the reinforcement are crucial, and the use of incremental reinforcement or "shaping", factors that often gets lost in popular discussions of reinforcement.

However, Pryor is especially adamant that negative reinforcement, while it can work it certain situations, is usually far less effective than positive reinforcement. Here is what she says:

Quote
...since all negative reinforcement, by definition, includes a punisher, making a practice of using negative reinforcement puts you at risk for all the unpredictable fallout of punishment [including] spillover associations, in which anything that happens to be around, including the training environment and the trainer, becomes distasteful or disliked, something to be avoided or even fled from.

So applying this to your use of negative reinforcment to decondition chocoate and coconut by following them with tumeric: While this may be effective, what is it that you have deconditioned?  Just the munching of chocolate and coconut in the morning? Or eating chocolate and coconut anytime? Or the coffee? Or how you feel in the morning?  Be careful, because you may end up non-specifically deconditioning things you would rather still like to eat or drink at different times.

A better approach may be to use extinction (don't reward the cravings) or reinforcing alternate behaviors (drinking morning coffee without the chocolate and coconut).  This allows you to still enjoy the chocolate and coconut at different times, when you want to enjoy them.

Todd
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 08:23:01 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline stephenmarklay

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Re: Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 08:54:10 AM »
Thank you very much for the insight.  I will order the Karen's book asap.
I understand and fully buy into the logic you have presented.

I am very much interested in learning more about conditioning in general as I think it is the key to open my door to the future.

Happy Easter.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 07:03:47 AM »
Just for clarification, what the OP asked about is not negative reinforcement.  In behavioral terms, negative does not mean bad or punishing.  Negative means that a stimulus (usually aversive in some way) is removed in order to reinforce a behavior.

Pairing up with an aversive stimulus is called punishment,  or positive punishment.  If you remove a stimulus to punish (like taking away video game privileges from your kids) it is called negative punishment.

Offline AnaGrey

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Re: Negative reinforcement for deconditioning?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 09:04:56 AM »
I was wondering as part of deconditioning can one try to associate a bad or negative thing with a craving?

So I tried this.  I smelled some chocolate and coconut, two things I munch when I first get up with coffee.  Then I drank a cup of hot water with Tumeric.  I hate the taste of Tumeric but I eat it some as I have heard it does have some positive health qualities.  I figure I would kill two birds with one stone.

It certainly stopped my craving for anything dead.

Since I am new to the site and have not read (but I have ordered) conditioned reflexes yet I am still learning Thank you.

Welcome to this site, stephen. The Pavlov book, Conditioned Reflexes, is very solid on the scientific experiments behind conditioning, particularly extinction. But as an introduction to behavioral conditioning, I'd recommend starting with Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot The Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training". The title is somewhat misleading, because the book has very little to do with dog training, but rather addresses fundamental principles of reinforcement and behavioral science, illustrated by an excellent description of real applications to humans -- most importantly ourselves.

Pryor is a world renowned dolphin trainer who realized that her expertise could be applied more generally. She emphasizes that the immediacy and frequency of the reinforcement are crucial, and the use of incremental reinforcement or "shaping", factors that often gets lost in popular discussions of reinforcement.

However, Pryor is especially adamant that negative reinforcement, while it can work it certain situations, is usually far less effective than positive reinforcement. Here is what she says:

Quote
...since all negative reinforcement, by definition, includes a punisher, making a practice of using negative reinforcement puts you at risk for all the unpredictable fallout of punishment [including] spillover associations, in which anything that happens to be around, including the training environment and the trainer, becomes distasteful or disliked, something to be avoided or even fled from.

So applying this to your use of negative reinforcment to decondition chocoate and coconut by following them with tumeric: While this may be effective, what is it that you have deconditioned?  Just the munching of chocolate and coconut in the morning? Or eating chocolate and coconut anytime? Or the coffee? Or how you feel in the morning?  Be careful, because you may end up non-specifically deconditioning things you would rather still like to eat or drink at different times.

A better approach may be to use extinction (don't reward the cravings) or reinforcing alternate behaviors (drinking morning coffee without the chocolate and coconut).  This allows you to still enjoy the chocolate and coconut at different times, when you want to enjoy them.

Todd

Thanks for sharing this. I'll read those too
"Take every success in life as a reward for hard work. And take every failure as a challenge to be better" - Anonymous

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