Operant Conditioning Essay

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Operant Conditioning Operant conditioning is a technique of learning that happens through positive and negative reinforcements. Sometimes called instrumental conditioning, a correlation is made between a behavior and the reward or consequence that follows the behavior. The reinforcement is a factor in whether same behavior will happen again or not. Burrhus Frederic Skinner, better known as B.F. Skinner is known for his approach or view of operant conditioning. Skinner liked Watson’s ideas regarding human behaviorism. However, Skinner’s thoughts were not as intense in comparison to Watson. B.F. Skinner did not deny that the mind is real he simply felt that behavior could be best observed by what is physically seen versus internal cognitive guesses on why behavior occurs (McLeod, 2007). Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning actually extended on Edward Thorndike’s Law of Effect theory where he used mice and puzzle boxes to show learning. Skinner’s use of Thorndike’s method introduced positive and negative reinforcements which raise or lower risk of repeat behavior (McLeod, 2007). Positive and Negative Reinforcements Operant conditioning is slightly manipulating repeat behavior by the type of reinforcement following actions. Skinner defined three reinforcement responses but only two are most effective in changing behavior. Neutral operants are responses that do not increase nor decrease the chance of repeat behavior such as eating. Generally, it is a required part of survival so when the body becomes hungry we feed it. It is neutral in the sense humans do so everyday. Most often when thinking of conditioning types, children examples are provided but operant conditioning is also effective in teens, adults and seniors. Human behavior is most affected by the positive or negative reward. The two can be easily confused since both are affecting behavior one way or
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