Behavior analysts and educators often recommend using praise, particularly descriptive praise, despite mixed empirical findings to support this recommendation. We evaluated the effectiveness of praise as a reinforcer during a reinforcer assessment using known tasks with preschoolers in Study 1. Praise functioned as a reinforcer for 2 of 6 participants; the remaining 4 participants required additional reinforcers (edibles) to show a reinforcement effect. We then compared the effectiveness of descriptive versus general praise for acquisition of unknown tacts and assessed participants’ preference for the different types of praise for 4 participants from Study 1. Results showed the efficacy of and preference for general and descriptive praise was idiosyncratic.
Senn, L. P., Bayles, M. W., & Bruzek, J. L. (2020). An evaluation of praise as a reinforcer for preschoolers’ behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53(1), 315–330. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.591