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July 4, 2022 – The concept of self-reinforcement shows how the first experience with drugs, sex, cigarettes or alcohol can lead to the second. It takes a memory of the experience as being at least partly pleasurable. Self-reinforcement doesn’t make the second experience inevitable, but it is necessary for addiction to occur. Self-reinforcement also reinforces socially approved habits not generally considered addictions. You may become a chronic novel reader after finding your first reading experience enjoyable.

Personal experiments with socially disapproved behavior don’t always begin in isolation, although all of them have to be thinkable before they are doable. Teenage drinking, smoking or drug use may become thinkable because friends talk about these activities or partake in them before the uninitiated youth. If a boy sees his friends taking drugs, and a glazed but happy look comes into their eyes, he can’t avoid concluding that drug use is sometimes pleasant. If he is offered a beer, which others are already consuming, social influence reinforces his curiosity.

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