reinforcing feedback

  

Definition

Effect of an action, change, or decision returned to amplify or bolster what caused it. Reinforcing feedback drives a system increasingly faster in the direction it is already going whether away from its goal (called a vicious circle) or towards it (called a virtuous circle). It may destroy the system by pushing it beyond its limits unless the circle runs out of steam or is countered by a balancing feedback. A small ball of snow rolling downhill is an example of vicious circle. As its size continues to grow, it picks up ever-increasing amounts of snow. This process stops only when the giant ball of snow disintegrates under its own weight or runs out of slopes to roll down. compound interest is an example of a virtuous circle. A praise or a reward can also be a reinforcing feedback if it results in the desired change in the recipient's behavior. Also called positive feedback.

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