Psy/390 Operant Conditioning

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Operant Conditioning Psy/390 Operant Conditioning Operant conditioning has been used for many years in behavioral modification. This conditioning uses positive and negative reinforcements. These reinforcements have similarities and differences within each method and can be altered to be used as punishers or reinforcers. Understanding each of these can help determine which type of reinforcement is the most effective. Different methods of reinforcement can be effective for parenting as behavior modification for children. Operant Conditioning Defined Operant conditioning is a type of behavioral learning. The theory behind it looks at the ability to modify behavior of an organism. With operant, the importance of the conditioning lies with consequences of behavior and how an organism responds to bring forth reinforcing stimuli. There are two different types of reinforcements, which are positive and negative. B.F. Skinner main body of work came from operant conditioning that he performed in the early 20th century. Skinner designed what he described as an operant chamber, which in time would become known as a Skinner box. The box housed a rat and contained a lever that would deliver food. The rat became conditioned to press the lever. This would be a case of positive reinforcement since something was added to increase behavior. The box also contained floor bars that could stream electrical currents that would administer a mild shock. This conditioned the rat to avoid the lever. This would be a case of negative reinforcement since the shock was taken away to decrease behavior (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Similarities and Differences There are similarities and differences within positive and negative reinforcement. The most obvious similarities are both reinforcements are designed to change behavior. Both use stimuli to modify an
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