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What Is The Extinction Burst In Behavioral Science?

The extinction burst is a phenomenon that can occur when an animal or person is trained to perform a certain behavior in response to a specific stimulus, and then the reinforcement for that behavior is removed. In other words, when the animal or person is no longer rewarded for performing the behavior, they may initially increase their efforts to continue the behavior, in the hope of receiving the reward. This increase in the frequency or intensity of the behavior is called an extinction burst.

For example, if a dog is trained to sit whenever it hears the word “sit,” and is then given a treat every time it performs the behavior, it will quickly learn to associate the word “sit” with the reward of a treat. However, if the treats are then stopped, the dog may initially continue to sit every time it hears the word, in the hope of still receiving a treat. This initial increase in the dog’s attempts to sit is an extinction burst.

Over time, the animal or person will typically learn that the behavior is no longer reinforced, and they will stop performing it. This process is called extinction.

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