In psychology, a consequence refers to an event or outcome that follows a behavior or action. Consequences can be positive or negative and can shape future behavior.

Examples of consequences in psychology include:

  • Positive reinforcement: A consequence that results in an increase in the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. For example, if a child receives a reward (e.g. candy) for completing their homework, they are more likely to complete their homework again in the future.
  • Negative reinforcement: A consequence that results in the removal of an aversive stimulus, which results in an increase in the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. For example, if a child stops crying when their parent gives them a toy, they are more likely to cry again in the future to get the toy.
  • Punishment: A consequence that results in a decrease in the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. For example, if a child is spanked for hitting their sibling, they are less likely to hit their sibling again in the future.
  • Extinction: A consequence that results in the gradual decrease in the likelihood of a behavior being repeated through the lack of reinforcement. For example, if a child stops getting attention for throwing tantrums, they will stop throwing tantrums over time.

It's important to note that the consequences that are most effective are those that are most closely related in time, intensity, and relevance to the behavior.

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