在引入Premack原理之前，操作员条件认为强化取决于单个行为和单个结果的关联。 例如，如果学生在考试中表现出色，那么如果老师称赞他，将会增强导致他成功的学习行为。 1965年，心理学家戴维·普雷马克（David Premack）扩展了这一观念，以表明一种行为可以增强另一种行为。 Premack研究Cebus猴子时，发现个体自然地以较高频率进行的行为比个体以较低频率进行的行为更有意义。 他建议，较高的奖励，较高频率的行为可以增强较低的奖励，较低频率的行为。
Prior to the introduction of the Premack principle, operator conditions considered reinforcement to depend on the association of individual behaviors with individual outcomes. For example, if a student performs well on the exam, then if the teacher praises him, it will enhance the learning behavior that led to his success. In 1965, psychologist David Premack extended this notion to show that one behavior can enhance another. When Premack studied Cebus monkeys, it was found that individuals naturally performed at higher frequencies more meaningfully than individuals performed at lower frequencies. He suggests that higher rewards, higher frequency behavior can enhance lower rewards and lower frequency behavior.