Topic of the Week: Reinforcement & Reinforcers

This blog post is intended to help students that plan on taking their Board Certification in Behavior Analysis (“Pre-CBAs”) to understand the terms and topics of behavior analysis. Some of you are taking live classes and some are taking courses online. Either way, it would be beneficial to have an opinion other than your textbook or your teacher. We will cover some of the terms we know and love and welcome you to submit questions or comments about our discussion. If there is a term that is getting you stuck, please let us know, we will figure out a way to make it as plain and understandable as we can. You can find new terms discussed here weekly. So, make sure to subscribe through the link on the sidebar.

In this week’s video you will also hear from Dr. Mike Marroquin, a dear friend of mine and a great behavior analyst.

Click here to see the video.


  1. Many, many thanks to the both of you for the Reinforcement and Reinforcers refresher. How amazing!!!
    Can you discuss: what an antecedent stimulus is?, Stimulus control, An SD, Stimulus discrimination training and reinforcement, Does an SD cause a behavior to occur? What is a stimulus class? What is a stimulus generalization.
    I need a better understanding of a stimulus and its components…

  2. Thank you for this video. The analogies were really helpful to understand my child’s perspective and also to make me laugh because you two are very funny and dynamic together. I would be interested in knowing what specific reinforcers seem to be tried and true or even stories of reinforcers that were unexpected hits. It feels like the quest for a good reinforcer gets harder as my child gets older so I’m looking for new ideas (he’s turning 5).

    1. Hi Farrah,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      We hoped to have conveyed the idea that there are no specific reinforcers that will work for everyone. Reinforcer is something that is specific to the individual. SO, try to look for things that your child approaches. Things/activities in which your child engages are likely to serve as reinforcers. Perhaps a particular cartoon, a toy, a preferred food, hugs, tickles… The trick here is to pay attention to your child and his interaction with the environment around him. Hope this helps. 🙂

    2. I always look at a student’s eyes. We look at our reinforcers. What does he play with? Also, it is ok to hold back on really powerful reinforcers for skills that are more difficult. You can even keep a few items in rotation so that everything is not constantly available.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hey guys! Awesome video! Informative and entertaining – definitely a reinforcer to impact future video watching. Topic suggestion: respondent conditioning and applied applications (that sounds weird in my head).

    1. I love that idea! To keep it simple, we might need to do a part 1 and part 2. Challenge accepted. 😉

    1. Great! what else would you like to know about? You can request a post on a particular topic, and I’ll see if I can prepare it for you.

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