Definition reproduced by permission from Amanda N. Kelly at Behaviorbabe.
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A state of withholding or lack of access to a particular reinforcer. Deprivation is an establishing operation, which increases the effectiveness of the reinforcer. If you offer a child a cookie for helping clean up the house and the child has skipped breakfast and snacks, the (a smaller amount of the) cookie is likely to become momentarily more valuable because the child is in a state of food deprivation.