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What Is Operant Conditioning In Psychology

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What Is Respondent Conditioning In Psychology

The difference between classical and operant conditioning – Peggy Andover

Classical conditioning

Conditioning in behavioral psychology is a theory that the reaction to an object or event by a person or animal can be modified by ‘learning’, or conditioning. The most well-known form of this is Classical Conditioning , and Skinner built on it to produce Operant Conditioning.

Subsequently, question is, what is an example of a classical conditioning? Classical Conditioning in HumansThe influence of classical conditioning can be seen in responses such as phobias, disgust, nausea, anger, and sexual arousal. A familiar example is conditioned nausea, in which the sight or smell of a particular food causes nausea because it caused stomach upset in the past.

Regarding this, what is the difference between operant and respondent conditioning?

ESSENTIAL that the reinforcer presentation depends on the organism’s response. In operant conditioning, it is the occurrence of a response that causes reinforcement to be delivered. In respondent conditioning, the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli are presented without regard to the animal’s behavior.

How does learning occur in respondent conditioning?

Respondent conditioning occurs when we link or pair a previously neutral stimulus with a stimulus that is unlearned or inborn, called an unconditioned stimulus. Note that this form of learning also goes by the name classical conditioning, or Pavlovian conditioning in honor of Ivan Pavlov.

Take A Pause Exercises

  • Practice using contingencies of behavior and reinforcement schedules.

Now that we have discussed the main elements of operant conditioning, lets make sure you understand how to identify contingencies and schedules of reinforcement.

6.4.1. A Way to Easily Identify Contingencies

Use the following three steps:

  • Identify if the contingency is positive or negative. If positive, you should see words indicating something was given, earned, or received. If negative, you should see words indicating something was taken away or removed.
  • Identify if a behavior is being reinforced or punished. If reinforced, you will see a clear indication that the behavior increases in the future. If punished, there will be an indication that the behavior decreases in the future.
  • The last step is easy. Just put it all together. Indicate first if it is P or N, and then indicate if there is R or P. So you will have either PR, PP, NR, or NP. Check above for what these acronyms mean if you are confused.
  • Example:

    You study hard for your calculus exam and earn an A. Your parents send you $100. In the future, you study harder hoping to receive another gift for an exemplary grade.

  • P or N Your parents send you $100 but also earn an A You are given an A and money so you have two reinforcers that are given which is P
  • R or P In the future you study harder. behavior increases so R
  • Together PR
  • Exercise 6.1. Contingencies of Behavior Practice

    Use the following three steps:


    Everyday Connection: Behavior Modification In Children

    Parents and teachers often use behavior modification to change a childs behavior. Behavior modification uses the principles of operant conditioning to accomplish behavior change so that undesirable behaviors are switched for more socially acceptable ones. Some teachers and parents create a sticker chart, in which several behaviors are listed . Sticker charts are a form of token economies, as described in the text. Each time children perform the behavior, they get a sticker, and after a certain number of stickers, they get a prize, or reinforcer. The goal is to increase acceptable behaviors and decrease misbehavior. Remember, it is best to reinforce desired behaviors, rather than to use punishment. In the classroom, the teacher can reinforce a wide range of behaviors, from students raising their hands, to walking quietly in the hall, to turning in their homework. At home, parents might create a behavior chart that rewards children for things such as putting away toys, brushing their teeth, and helping with dinner. In order for behavior modification to be effective, the reinforcement needs to be connected with the behavior; the reinforcement must matter to the child and be done consistently.

    Figure 2. Sticker charts are a form of positive reinforcement and a tool for behavior modification. Once this little girl earns a certain number of stickers for demonstrating a desired behavior, she will be rewarded with a trip to the ice cream parlor.

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    Gambling Variable Ratio Scheduling

    As stated earlier in this article, a variable ratio schedule yields reinforcement after the emission of an unpredictable number of responses. This schedule typically generates rapid, persistent responding. Slot machines pay off on a variable ratio schedule, and they produce just this sort of persistent lever-pulling behavior in gamblers. The variable ratio payoff from slot machines and other forms of gambling has often been cited as a factor underlying gambling addiction.

    Human beings have an innate resistance to killing and are reluctant to act in a direct, aggressive way towards members of their own species, even to save life. This resistance to killing has caused infantry to be remarkably inefficient throughout the history of military warfare.

    Modern marksmanship training is such an excellent example of behaviorism that it has been used for years in the introductory psychology course taught to all cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point as a classic example of operant conditioning. In the 1980s, during a visit to West Point, B.F. Skinner identified modern military marksmanship training as a near-perfect application of operant conditioning.

    Lt. Col. Dave Grossman states about operant conditioning and US Military training that:

    Braiker identified the following ways that manipulators control their victims:

    Types Of Operant Conditioning

    Differences Between Classical vs. Operant Conditioning

    There are basically 4 types of operant conditioning:

    • Positive Reinforcement A positive stimulus is added to the environment and increases the rate of occurrence of and strengthens a particular behavior. The consequences of the behaviour are positive, therefore, the behaviour is engaged in more frequently.Example: Employee who receives praise after a job well done is more likely to give his best effort in his succeeding tasks.
    • Negative Reinforcement A negative stimulus is removed from the environment because of the engagement in a particular behaviour, thereby strengthening the behaviour.Example: A person who takes an analgesic for a headache and is relieved of the headache will probably take an analgesic the next time he has a headache.
    • Punishment A negative consequence of a particular behavior weakens the behavior and reduces the chances of the behavior being engaged in again.Example: Cramming for a test and obtaining a failing grade reduces the likelihood that the student will resort to cramming in the future.
    • Extinction A behavior is weakened and eventually disappears due to the absence of reinforcement.Example: A child who relentlessly teases his brother but is consistently ignored by the brother will decrease and eventually cease his teasing behavior.

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    History Of Operant Conditioning

    The concept of operant conditioning was first examined by scientist E. L. Thorndike. In his famous puzzle box experiment, Thorndike studied how animals can learn from their experiences.

    In this experiment, Thorndike placed small animals inside a puzzle box. To escape the box, the animal needed to perform a specific action, such as stepping on a button. Immediately after the correct behavior was performed, the door to the puzzle box would open and the animal would be rewarded with food.

    The first time the animal succeeded at the task was a total accident. But the more times the animal was put inside the puzzle box, the quicker they would figure out the correct behavior. After a few trials, the animal would push the button in no time at all.

    Another famous scientist that is known for his research on operant conditioning is B. F. Skinner. Taking the basic notion of Thorndikes puzzle box experiment, Skinner added more complex procedures.

    For example, Skinner looked at how learning happens when multiple responses are needed instead of just one. He also investigated how animals adapt their learning when the correct response changes.

    These scientists and their experiments laid the groundwork for what we now know about how organisms learn from their experiences. Now lets look at the different types of operant conditioning and how they can be applied to real life.

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    Applications In Everyday Life

    We are an amalgam of our habits. Some are automatic and reflexive, others are more purposeful, but in the end, they are all habits that can be manipulated. For the layperson struggling to change a habit or onboard a new one, operant conditioning can be helpful.

    It is the basis for the habit loop made popular in Charles Duhiggs book, The Power of Habit.

    The cue leads to a routine , and then a reward .

    We all know how challenging changing a habit can be. Still, when you understand the basic principles of operant conditioning, it becomes a matter of breaking the habit down into its parts. Our objective is to change the behavior even when the reward from the original behavior is incredibly attractive to us.

    For instance, if you want to start an exercise habit, but you have been sedentary for several months, your motivation will only get you so far. This is one reason why this particular habit as a New Years resolution often fails. People are excited to get into the gym and shed a few pounds from the holiday season. Then, after about two weeks, their drive to do this is slowly overtaken by a dozen other things they could do with their time.

    Using an operant conditioning approach, you can design for your new exercise habit. B. J. Fogg, a Stanford researcher, advocates starting with something so small it would seem ridiculous.

    This same methodology is useful for many different types of habits.

    Reinforcement In Operant Conditioning

    What is Operant Conditioning?

    Reinforcement;is any event that strengthens or increases the behavior it follows. There are two kinds of reinforcers. In both of these cases of reinforcement, the behavior;increases.

  • Positive reinforcers;are favorable events or outcomes that are presented after the behavior. In positive reinforcement situations, a response or behavior is strengthened by the addition of praise or a direct reward. If you do a good job at work and your manager gives you a bonus, that bonus is a positive reinforcer.
  • Negative reinforcers;involve the removal of an unfavorable events or outcomes after the display of a behavior. In these situations, a response is strengthened by the removal of something considered unpleasant. For example, if your child starts to scream in the middle of a restaurant, but stops once you hand them a treat, your action led to the removal of the unpleasant condition, negatively reinforcing your behavior .
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    Operant Conditioning In Therapy

    Kumar, Sinha, Dutta, and Lahiri used virtual reality and operant conditioning to help stroke patients use their paretic leg more often.

    Stroke patients tend to place more weight on their non-paretic leg, which is typically a learned response. Sometimes, though, this is because the stroke damages one side of their brain.

    The resulting damage causes the person to ignore or become blind to the paretic side of their body.

    Kumar et al. designed the V2BaT system. It consists of the following:

  • VR-based task
  • Weight distribution and threshold estimator
  • Wii balance boardVR handshake
  • Heel lift detection
  • Performance evaluation
  • Task-switching modules
  • Using Wii balance boards to measure weight displacement, they conditioned participants to use their paretic leg by offering an in-game reward . The balance boards provided readings that told the researchers which leg was used most during weight-shifting activities.

    They conducted several normal trials with multiple difficulty levels. Intermediate catch trials allowed them to analyze changes. When the first catch trial was compared to the final catch trial, there was a significant improvement.

    Operant and classical conditioning are the basis of behavioral therapy. Each can be used to help people struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder .

    What Is Operant Conditioning And How Does It Work

    How Reinforcement and Punishment Modify Behavior

    By Saul McLeod, updated 2018

    Operant conditioning, also known as instrumental conditioning, is a method of learning normally attributed to B.F. Skinner, where the consequences of a response determine the probability of it being repeated. Through operant conditioning behavior which is reinforced will likely be repeated, and behavior which is punished will occur less frequently.

    By the 1920s, John B. Watson had left academic psychology, and other behaviorists were becoming influential, proposing new forms of learning other than classical conditioning. Perhaps the most important of these was Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Although, for obvious reasons, he is more commonly known as B.F. Skinner.

    Skinner’s views were slightly less extreme than those of Watson . Skinner believed that we do have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply more productive to study observable behavior rather than internal mental events.

    The work of Skinner was rooted in a view that classical conditioning was far too simplistic to be a complete explanation of complex human behavior. He believed that the best way to understand behavior is to look at the causes of an action and its consequences. He called this approach operant conditioning.

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    Early Developments In Conditioning: Pavlovs Dogs

    Early research into conditioning was conducted by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. During studies of digestion in dogs, he noticed that his subjects would salivate when a researcher fed them. After the researcher had opened a door, entered the room and fed the dogs a few times, the animals began to associate the door opening with food, and would begin to salivate whenever they heard the door. Through associative learning, the dogs had linked an neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus . Repeated classical conditioning had led to the door becoming a conditioned stimulus, which prompted the dogs to salivate.

  • Imprinting and Relationships
  • Pavlov conducted additional research, known as the Pavlovs dog experiments, in which he further investigating classical conditioning as a form of learning.

    Exposing dogs to a variety of stimuli before feeding them, he discovered that the animals could be conditioned to salivate in response to different types of event, such as the ringing of a buzzer or the sounding of a metronome .

    Biological Correlates Of Operant Conditioning

    Classical Conditioning: How It Works With Examples

    The first scientific studies identifying a neurons that responded in ways that suggested they encode for the conditioned stimulus came from work by Rusty Richardson and Mahlon deLong. They showed that nucleus basalis neurons, which release acetylcholine broadly throughout the cerebral cortex, are activated shortly after a conditioned stimulus, or after a primary reward if no conditioned stimulus exists. These neurons are equally active for positive and negative reinforcers, and have been demonstrated to cause plasticity in many cortical regions.

    Evidence also exists that dopamine is activated at similar times. The dopamine pathways encode positive reward only, and not aversive reinforcement, and they project much more densely to frontal cortex regions. Cholinergic projections, in contrast, are dense even in the posterior cortical regions, like the primary visual cortex.

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    Examples Of Negative Reinforcement

    Negative reinforcement is a different but equally straightforward form of operant conditioning. Negative reinforcement rewards a behavior by removing an unpleasant stimulus, rather than adding a pleasant one.

    • An employer offering an employee a day off is an example of negative reinforcement. Rather than giving a tangible reward, they reduce the presence of something undesirable; that is, the amount of time spent at work.
    • In a sense, young children condition their parents through negative reinforcement. Screaming, tantrums and other “acting out” behaviors are generally intended to draw a parent’s attention. When the parent behaves as the child wants, the unpleasant condition – the screaming and crying – stops. That’s negative reinforcement.
    • Negative reinforcement is common in the justice system. Prisons will sometimes ease regulations on a well-behaved prisoner, and sentences are sometimes shortened for good behavior. The latter in particular is classic negative reinforcement: the removal of something undesirable in response to a given behavior.

    Applying Operant Conditioning Conditioning In The Real World

    Shaping Behaviour

  • At first, you reward any behaviour in the general direction you want
  • Later, you reward behaviours that are similar to the specific behaviour you have in mind
  • Eventually, you only reward the specific behaviour you are looking for
  • The ArtistPhobiassystematic desensitisationToken Economy ProgrammestheyProf. Dumbledore completely ruins Hogwarts’ House Point system by changing the conditions for receiving tokens after the behaviour.

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    Classical Vs Operant Conditioning

    What is the difference between classical and operant conditioning? While classical conditioning involves automatic or reflexive responses, operant conditioning focuses on voluntary behaviors.

    The field of behaviorism in psychology assumes that all behavior is determined by ones environment. The definition of classical conditioning is learning through association.

    It involves associations made between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus.

    In order to help people improve their habits and lives, B.F Skinner believed that it was most productive to study observable behaviors, rather than internal mental events. Skinner felt that classical conditioning was too simplistic and that a better way to understand complex human behaviors was to study the effects of punishments and rewards on controllable behaviors.

    What Is The Purpose Of Operant Conditioning

    Operant Conditioning | Psychology

    Operant conditioning is a process by which humans and animals learn to behave in such a way as to obtain rewards and avoid punishments. It is also the name for the paradigm in experimental psychology by which such learning and action selection processes are studied.

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