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Using Food as a Reward to Motivate Children

Motivation of human behavior consists of a theory by Pavlov which explains the operant and classical conditioning. This explains that the behavior of a person towards doing a certain work or activity can be motivated by a reward in order to continuously do the same act. Like for example, if you asked a child to fix his or her things and promise him or her something he or she really likes as a reward, then the child will definitely do the task that the parents asked of her or him in order to acquire the reward that has been promised.

Classical conditioning is what psychological term call when a certain premise is consistently and repeatedly followed by a certain positive or negative premise which will make the act or premises associated. On the other hand, operant conditioning is what psychological term call whenever a certain premise or act is done because of the incentive or reward that they will get which makes the reward act as the motivator towards doing the same premise or behavior repeatedly.

If the result of the premise is negative then therefore it would likely be that the act will not be repeated but if the result of the premise is positive or is said to be a reward motivator, then therefore it is expectedly that the act will be repeated. In motivation, classical conditioning is often used and thus it involves certain incentives such as things, trips, or food. To further explain this article, discussion of motivation using rewards on children will be explained with all the positive and negative consequences of using food as a particular reward in doing the motivation.

In addition to this, this paper will also include the effects of such reward and motivation relationship when food is used as a conditioning stimulus in order for the children to accomplish such tasks or activities which are given to them. Motivation In different theories of learning, psychologists basically explain that in order for a certain person to learn effectively, one must be motivated and in order for them to be motivated in learning, giving reward is often used.

Giving reward in order to motivate people, especially children, is considered as a part of the extrinsic motivation which involves an external reward in motivating. This explains that the motivation always results to satisfaction because of the reward (Weiner, 1992). In order to impose a responsive result, the people who tends to do the motivation towards another people must know what basically arouses the latter’s attention and interest in order to effectively do the motivation (Weiner, 1992).

The success of the motivation through using an external reward enables children to achieve more in order to acquire more or acquire better rewards than that of which they already acquired. In the early years of 1994, Rolls presented his theory about how motivation is executed in the brain through its process involving the hypothalamus. He discussed that the hypothalamus of the brain does play a primary part during food intake or food preference.

Included in his study is an explanation that the hypothalamus is consisting of certain brain neurons which have something to do with the processing of food in the body (Wong, 2000). Rolls explained that the lateral hypothalamus neurons tend to react or respond whenever they are exposed to food by taste and/or by sight. This theory states that a person’s lateral hypothalamus neurons react to do a certain behavior in response to the stimuli which is the food that leads the food to serve as a reward (Wong, 2000).

Regarding Rolls’ theory, he stated that the process of which the information takes its rout is almost the same as Cephalic phase hypothesis. And that the rout of the information in the brain is through the temporal lobe or temporal part of the brain such as the temporal visual cortex and also the amygdala (Wong, 2000). Positive Kind of Reinforcement This kind of reinforcement underlies in the operant conditioning wherein two premises are associated because the first premise is consistently followed by the second premise.

In positive reinforcement, a certain positive premise is explained to be supported by the consequence of achieving a positive condition (Coon, 2005). For example, a child does his or her homework and receives a reward such as cookies for the positive behavior that he or she had done. The cookies are considered as a positive condition or reinforcer for the child. The child’s behavior of doing his homework is said to be a behavior strengthened or supported by the fact that he or she will receive the cookies as his or her reward if the child tends to comply doing the task (Coon, 2005).

B. F. Skinner discussed this theory by explaining that reinforcement or reinforcer is any premise which strengthens the result of the motivated premise’s response or behavior. Since reinforcer is said to be any kind of material or behavior which could result the response in accordance to the expected result, then the reinforcer can be considered as what people call the reward (Coon, 2005). Appetite and Motivation Food tends to satisfy and/or make a certain person’s appetite crave.

During the early years of psychological studies, researchers have consequently perceived that food or appetite serves as a great deal of motivator to certain people. Food serves or acts as a great reward and also a great way to punish such people. Food as a certain motivation drive is as effective as an electric shock or electric effect, once someone is being motivated through food deprivation, that person will tend to do the asked behavior (Booth, 1994). According to the psychological study, neurons of the brains are the ones which tend to respond in the process of behavior motivation.

Those neurons which are exposed to certain stimuli such as positive and/or negative respond an either desirable or non-desirable reflective response. Those neurons which are exposed to S+ or positive stimuli such as food tend to decrease the rate of the neurons’ firing and the S- or the negative stimuli such as non-food stimulus tend to increase or add the firing rate or account of the neutrons (Booth, 1994). The ratio explains that neurons of the brain respond more effective when someone uses food as a motivator. Food as a Reward: Psychological View

Food may serve people in lots of ways, one is that it can serve as a tranquilizer, another is that it can serve as a reward, and even a substitute object in order to alter any affection. Other people usually eat food to because of the reason that they are hungry, on the contrary, other people use eating as an emotional eating habit occasionally whenever people are experiencing anxiety or even they are to celebrate any kind of celebration, and thus, occasional emotional eating is not dangerous hence its normal (Kamhi, 2007).

When emotional eating becomes a habit and thus eating over amount of food is done often, the consequences would be that; the person who practices food as a self reward will be led into gaining of weight and poor dietary preference or choices. This is because psychology explains that food can serve people as an effective escaping way or mechanism to avoid addressing certain psychological problems especially emotional ones (Kamhi, 2007).

Psychological researches often correlate eating disorders to psychological problems like for example, excessive eaters are said to be often suffering under greater levels of depression and also anxiety. They also experience low level of self-esteem than those of who do not eat excessive food amount (Kamhi, 2007). Obese patients on the other hand are said to be experiencing certain psychiatric complications and problems. They are also correlated with the practice of alcoholism, problems in marriage and relationship, physical or sexual abuse, and stress.

These problems are the possible psychological explanations why people tend to use food as an effective comfort and why they tend to suffer under health consequences (Kamhi, 2007). Reason why the Consequences Happens If children are rewarded food for motivation and parents often practice this activity to make their children do such desired behavior, nutrients which their body need will eventually decrease on level. When the nutrient inside the body decreases from the supposedly level that it should reach, the tendency will be that the person will crave for more food intakes (Gorman, 2004).

Cannon’s theory explains that once a person achieves a low level of nutrients than that of which a certain person need’s, then the lack of nutrients will eventually trigger or drive the appetite of that person to crave for more food. Explaining that eating rewarded foods such as junk foods do not really fill a certain person’s stomach; stomach will experience contraction and then the brain will pick up the signal of the stomach which says that the person is hungry, and then the brain will tell the body to eat (Gorman, 2004). Disadvantages of Food as a Reinforcer

The main reason why food reinforcement is applied to children is because parents want their children to comply with them and do such good behavior, since kids are always difficult to be managed. Children are most commonly offered foods in order for them to be encouraged to do good behavior but hence, rewarding children by giving food could most probably cause danger than advantages. Using food as a reinforcement alternative is effective and thus easy to do but this said parents’ practice can cause into certain problems such as eating habits, dental and oral health, and most importantly, nutrition risks (Ogden, 2002).

Parents and guardians should be consistent about teaching children. Reinforcing children by giving them unhealthy foods as a reward conflicts the healthy teachings that the school and other concerned people impose and promote, if such reward strategy is implemented to young adults, then those young adults might think and learn that the food given as a reward to them is more important and thus valuable rather than any other nutritious foods (Ogden, 2002).

By implementing children a food reward, children will learn to prefer the food reward everytime they eat. Rewarding food can cause children to learn to eat even if they are not yet hungry or to make eating as a day to day habit and the most risky consequence is when children learns to depend their emotional conditions to foods then therefore every time that they get depressed or happy, they eat food in order to comfort or treat themselves (Ogden, 2002).

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