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Experimental Psychology -Operant Conditioning

Experimental Psychology -Operant Conditioning

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Published by Pooyan B.
Operant Conditioning in brief
Operant Conditioning in brief

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Pooyan B. on Jun 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Operant conditioning is a type of learning in which an individual's behavior is modified by its consequences in an environment. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior. The behavior may change in form, frequency, or strength. Operant conditioning is a term that was coined by B.F Skinner in 1937. The word operant can be described as, "any active behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences". Operant conditioning deals with the modification of "voluntary behavior" or operant behavior. Operant behavior operates on the environment and is maintained by its consequences.
Positive reinforcement, and is defined as a stimulus that strengthens an operant response when it is presented after the response.
Positive reinforcement
 occurs when a behavior (response) is followed by a stimulus that is appetitive or rewarding, increasing the frequency of that behavior. In the Skinner box experiment, a stimulus such as food or a sugar solution can be delivered when the rat engages in a target behavior, such as pressing a lever. o Giving a child a compliment or candy for a job well done. o Getting paid for a completed task. o Watching your favorite TV show after doing all your homework. o Dolphin gets a fish for doing a trick. o Dog gets a treat for sitting, laying, rolling over. o Get a candy bar for putting money in the machine.
The word “positive” in positive reinforcement refers to the fact that the stimulus is presented
after the operant response rather than removed after the operant response. It does not mean that the stimulus necessarily was something that the person found to be pleasant.
An important thing to note is that positive reinforcement is not always a good thing. For example, when a child misbehaves in a store, some parents might give them extra attention or even buy the child a toy. Children quickly learn that by acting out, they can gain attention from the parent or even acquire objects that they want. Essentially, parents are actually reinforcing the misbehavior. In this case, the better solution would be to use positive reinforcement when the child is actually displaying good behavior.
Positive reinforcement is most effective when it occurs immediately after the behavior. The shorter the amount of time between a behavior and the presentation of positive reinforcement, the stronger the connection will be. If a long period of time elapses between the behavior and the reinforcement, the weaker the connection will be.
Negative reinforcement is a term described by B. F. Skinner in his theory of operant conditioning. In negative reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus. Aversive stimuli tend to involve some type of discomfort, either physical or psychological. Behaviors are negatively reinforced when they allow you to escape from aversive stimuli that are already present or allow you to completely avoid the aversive stimuli before they happen. 1.
Loud buzz in some cars when ignition key is turned on; driver must put on safety belt in order to eliminate irritating buzz
 the buzz is a negative reinforcer for putting on the seat-belt. 2.
Feigning a stomach ache in order to avoiding school
 school as negative reinforcer for feigning stomach aches. 3.
Rushing home in the winter to get out of the cold. Fanning one-self to escape from the heat
 Cold weather as negative reinforcer for walking home (the colder the faster you walk..), and heat is negative reinforcer for fanning. 4.
Cleaning the house to get rid of disgusting mess or cleaning the house to get rid of your mother's nagging
 Nagging/Mess as negative reinforcer to cleaning. 5.
Studying for an exam to avoid getting a poor grade
 Low grade as a negative reinforcer for studying (
.. a high grade is a positive reinforcer for studying at the same time) 6.
Taking aspirin to relieve headache
 Good example: headache as negative reinforcer to taking medication. 7.
Removing a stone that has lodged inside the shoe while walking
 Pain as negative reinforcer to stopping to take off your shoe. 8.
Prisoners try to break out of jail to escape the aversiveness of being locked up. 9.
Leaving a movie theater if the movie is bad. 10.
Running from the building when the fire alarm sounds
 Fire alarm as negative reinforcer for leaving building. 11.
Smoking in order to reduce a negative emotional state
 Negative emotional state as negative reinforcer to smoking. 12.
Turning down the volume of a very loud radio. 13.
Changes in sexual behavior (e.g., wearing condoms) to avoid AIDS.

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