Law of Effect Essay

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Law of Effect PS124: Introduction to Psychology As each person in this world is different, there are many ways people are very much alike in certain aspects of the way individuals think, respond, and act out, in other words this can be known as a person’s behavior. Behavior can be based upon positive and negative reinforcement as well as punishment reinforcement. This conditioning process was thought up by the first scientist psychologist Edward L. Thorndike. He based his theory on the law of effect, “the principle that responses create a typically pleasant outcomes in a particular situation are more likely to occur again in a similar situation, whereas responses that produce a typically unpleasant outcome are less likely to occur again in the situation.” (Thorndike, 1911). These laws of effect are based upon five concepts known as operant conditioning, positive punishment, negative punishment, positive reinforcement, and negative reinforcement. These conceptions can play a large role in a person’s daily life, or even ethically. The core theory of the law of effect is effective responses are pleasurable because they are “stamped in by occurrence. Ineffective responses produce disagreeable occurrences which are “stamped out and occur less often.” (Stangor). Starting with Operant conditioning, “this process doesn’t learn something new but rather begins to perform in an existing behavior in the presence of a new signal.” (Stangor). For instance take a woman by the name of Sandy who is addicted to methamphetamines and has been for ten years. She has refused help in the past however; she gets a run in with the law due to her drug use. She than makes an agreement she will no longer continue the use of drugs because she claims she has learned her lesson. This is an example of how operant conditioning works, this woman is learning from her own
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