Pleasure and pain centers in the brain are major forces in the production of behavior. A positive reinforcer produces stimulation
in the pleasure centers of the brain and reduced stimulation in the pain centers of the brain.
Most changes in these centers are slight as they produce a stream of activities.
There are over 30 such centers.
The parameters of reinforcers are connected to circumstances, past training, and genetics: thus in two identical situation different people
will often behave dramatically different. Often the biological differences are
The science of analyzing reinforcers is in its infancy: thus psychologists are forced to used operational definitions for positive and negative
reinforcers, operant and respondent conditioning, satiation, punishment and such.
Past experiences determine future behavior: the brain projects
future reinforcements and thus select behavior accordingly.
Parallel process occur, thus one can drive a
car, scratch the groin, and pray to the gods at the same time.
Propinquity: The closer in time a reinforcer is the greater is the probability
that it will effect behavior.
Two useful simplifications:
Boredom is the mild discomfort that drives
people for a variety in experiences.
Subconscious is a label for the selection
process. Thus subconscious projections of future reinforcements drives Alan to
eat more calories than he burns. This subconscious is the cause of his obesity. Change significantly the reinforcers, and Alan will begin to lose weight.