Valentina Puicea is a BCBA accredited behavioral analyst and a clinical psychologist with 11 years of experience in the intervention and recovery of children diagnosed with developmental disorders. During all this time, she coordinated the activity of several centers, participated as a lecturer in conferences and in numerous training courses. It is currently operating independently. As a specialist, she emphasizes the accuracy, the theoretical and practical rigors of applied behavior analysis.

Abstract of the conference presentation

The Controversial Principle of Reward: Why is Reward the Engine of Behavior?

Starting from the fact that, lately, people question more and more the utility of the reward (reinforcement) principle, associating it with “blackmail” and/ or “training”, this presentation aims to bring information with reference to the years of research focused on the fact that the reward is the “engine of behavior”. The reality is that we cannot talk about increasing the frequency of behavior without talking about reward. Why is this principle controversial? Is it misunderstood? We think it is. Over time, we gathered data and information and, most of the times, the parents gave us the argument that they want their little ones to engage in desirable behaviors because they want to, and because it is natural, and not because they get a benefit from it, instead. Whether we accept it or not, the truth is that any behavior that the child manifests over and over again has definitely been rewarded.

Therefore, in the presentation, me and my colleague, Camelia Frangulea, will set out to bring concrete examples from everyday life to identify how this principle works.

In conclusion, we aim to touch on topics such as:

  • the applicability of the principle of reward (reinforcement) in daily life
  • the reward in the natural environment
  • the complex reward systems
  • the role of private events in changing behaviors.