In operant conditioning, secondary reinforcement refers to a situation in which a stimulus reinforces a behavior after it has been associated with a primary reinforcer. The primary reinforcers occur naturally and do not need to be learned. Examples of primary reinforcers include things that satisfy basic survival needs such as water, food, sleep, air and sex.
Money is one example of secondary reinforcement. Money can be used to reinforce behaviors because it can be used to acquire primary reinforcers such as food, clothing, shelter and other such things.
Animal trainers sometimes use clickers as a type of secondary reinforcement. After pairing the sound of a clicker with praise or treats, the sound of the clicker alone can eventually work as a reinforcer.
Secondary reinforcement is also known as conditioned reinforcement.
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