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Chapter 3. What Makes Difficult People T... > You Don't Need to Be a Shrink - Pg. 27

What Makes Difficult People Tick ... and Tick ... 27 It's About What People Have Learned If difficult people aren't screwed up, how can you begin to understand why they do what they do? It's all about learning. People tend to repeat behaviors that have gotten them what they wanted in the past and seem to be getting them what they want in the present. That's such a simple principle, but it is essential to understand. Read it again. Think about it for a minute. People behaving in difficult ways are doing so because they have received some reinforcement for behaving that way; in nonpsychological terms, they have been rewarded (or believe they have been) for behaving that way. Insider Secrets Non-psychologists usually equate reinforcement with reward. Technically, rewards and reinforcements aren't exactly the same thing but the differences are unimportant for our purposes here. Reinforcement refers to an event that follows after a behavior, one that increases the probability that the behavior will be repeated. For example, the person who interrupts others may end up encouraged to interrupt again because his behavior is being rewarded or reinforced. How? By the attention he receives after the interruption. Even if the reaction is negative, but shines the spotlight on the person, it may reinforce the behavior we don't want. And, what one