what is negative reinforcement

Negative reinforcement occurs when something already present is removed (taken away) as a result of a person’s behaviour, creating a favourable outcome for that person. Basically, when a person’s behaviour leads to the removal of something that was unpleasant to that person then negative reinforcement is occuring.

The term “stimulus” would be used within Applied Behaviour Analysis to describe the “something” that is taken away or removed. The stimulus could be anything, for example a person, a noise, a feeling, an emotion or an object.

Technically, for negative reinforcement to occur, the person must engage in the behaviour that created the favourable outcome more frequently in the future