Instrumental Conditioning Essay

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Instrumental conditioning in deprived and nondeprived rats using food reinforcers Texas Christian University Abstract Instrumental conditioning can be influenced by the belongingness of a reinforcer; presumably, specific reinforcers activate a specific behavioral system. The following study tested a prediction of behavior systems theory, hypothesizing that food-related behaviors (e.g., wall rearing) would appear at higher frequencies than non food-related behaviors (e.g., grooming) when motivational factors related to food were manipulated. We found that wall rearing, a food related behavior increased in response to instrumental shaping. We concluded that there was an increase in the reinforced behaviors (grooming and wall rearing) independent of their belongingness to the reinforcer. Instrumental conditioning in deprived and nondeprived rats using food reinforcers Animals and humans must learn about the relationship between their responses and reinforcing outcomes to survive in different situations and environments. These types of conditioning are essential to animals, and humans alike, all vertebrate species endure different situations regarding hunger, mating, and survival. Instrumental conditioning describes how organisms behave as if they have learned that a reinforcing outcome occurs as a direct result of their response (Domjan, 2010). This type of conditioning appears to be goal directed because the animal or human is performing a particular response in order to reach their goal (e.g. studying improves test performance and throwing a switch activates light). Instrumental conditioning requires a high amount of predictive validity and helps us adapt to a changing environment. Previously, researchers such as Skinner believed animals learned superstitious behaviors in light of reinforcement (Skinner, 1948). Skinner developed superstition to explain
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