Operant Conditioning Essay

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Operant conditioning plays a major role in behavioral modification. It can lead to desirable behavior or behavior that yields desirable consequences. These can range from a child learning responsibility to social acceptance leading an individual to smoke or do drugs to fit in. * * THEORY OF OPERANT CONDITIONING. * * The theory of operant conditioning is a term the B.F Skinner coined in 1938. He stated “Operant Conditioning is the changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response.” (Skinner, 1938) while reading I came across three sub-categories of operant conditioning. The first is: * Neutral Operant - These are a type of reinforcement that has no effect on the desired behavior repeating. * Reinforcement – An operant that can be positive or negative and help to increase the chance of a desired behavior being repeated. * Punishers – an operant that lessens the occurrence of a behavior being repeated. These are very similar to negative reinforces. * The above were paraphrased from (McLeod, 2007) * Each of these is a part of every behavior that an organism exhibits. Reinforcements are broken down into two separate categories: positive and negative. * * Positive reinforcements help to strengthen a desired behavior. An example of this would be giving a child a reward for their chores, if the child is rewarded with money or being allowed to participate in an activity that they enjoy the child will repeat their behavior in the future. Positive reinforcements can also lead an individual to partake in undesirable activities such as smoking or drugs. This is because the individual wants to get in with a certain group of people (Skinner, 1938). On the flip side of reinforcement is the “removal of an unpleasant reinforcer to strengthen behavior” (Skinner, 1938). This is known
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