Police Psychology | The Schedule is the Key
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
We all like being rewarded for the things we do. I mean, who wouldn’t want a sticker on your chart, or an ice cream cone, or a salary raise, every time you do something good? In this article, we are going to explore operant conditioning and how you can get meaning out of it in your job as a first responder.
Operant conditioning relies on something called the Law of Effect, which states that a response will increase if followed by a positive consequence and decrease if followed by a negative consequence. Pretty simple! There are two main “consequences” out there: reinforcement, which is consequences that increase the rate with which you will respond the desired way, and punishment, which are consequences that decrease the rate of responding. Both of these include positive (add a stimulus) and negative (remove a stimulus) options, so we really have four possibilities: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. We’re going to leave punishment for a later article, let’s deal with just reinforcement. Now how you use reinforcement is the reason that many call it the secret to controlling others?