Instrumental Conditioning Essay

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Instrumental Conditioning Instrumental conditioning also is known as operant conditioning, a theory emphasizing the impact on reinforcement on learning. Positive and negative reinforcement is used in operant/instrumental conditioning so an individual can learn (Kowalski & Weston, 2009). The actions of person or animal must happen in certain way before the action is reinforced with instrumental conditioning; that is, reinforcement is contingent with the person’s or animal’s behavior. If the behavior is not a desired behavior then it is not reinforced (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2009). B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) made this theory a popular one with the different studies he conducted using rats. The “Skinner box” was created by Skinner with Plexiglas and was laid out in a grid floor that he could electrify and had a lever that would activate a feeding mechanism, when pressed would deliver food to animals inside the box (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2009). In this case rats were inside the box could press the lever to release food and feat all day long as they kept pushing the button. The food eventually was taken away and as the rats pushed the lever, would grow frustrated when the reinforcement of food was not present (Hergenhahn &Olson, 2009). Skinner demonstrated with this experiment how quick learning occurs and how modifying behaviors effects the learning process. The main focus of Skinner was how the environment shaped behaviors of an individual or animal and put much emphasis on positive and negative reinforcement (Goodwin, 2008). Skinner’s belief is if the actions of an organism were producing constant rewards that the action probability would occur more often. On the other hand, if a reward was not received for an action the action would occur less as time goes (Goodwin, 2008). An example, if a dog defecating on the grass outside it knows it will be praised and if it
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