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Operant Conditioning

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Kasey Moomau

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning
Kasey Moomau
Naagma Timakondu
Victoria Sicotte
Rebecca DeBili
Jason Barna
Maura Carroll

What is operant conditioning?
a type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcement or diminished if followed by a punishment.

Organisms associate their own actions with consequences.

Actions followed by
increase, actions followed by

Basic types of Reinforcements:
Decrease behavior
ex: taking a toy away
ex: spanking the child
: Any event that that strengthens (increases the frequency of) a preceding response
Positive reinforcement: Use of a positive stimulus to encourage a wanted behavior.
Negative Reinforcement:
Reinforcement Schedules

continuous reinforcement:
reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs
Increase behavior
: a positive stimulus to increase behavior
ex: getting an A on test after studying
: negative stimulus to increase behavior
ex: smoking to relieve anxiety

partial (intermittent) reinforcement schedules
: responses are sometimes reinforced, sometimes not.
~ although initial learning is slower, intermittent reinforcement produce greater resistance to extinction than found in continuous reinforcement

~partial also works well with children : giving into their tantrums reinforces them to continue
fixed-ratio schedules
: set number of responses
Buy One Get One Free Deals
variable ratio schedules
: provides reinforers after an unpredictable amount of responses
Lottery, slot machine
fixed interval schedule
: reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after specific time
Weekly paycheck on Friday
variable-interval schedule:
reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at undpredictable time interval
Checking the mail for college acceptance letters
Partial Intermittent Schedule
To fully understand operant conditioning we must extend our knowledge to the effects of cognitive processes and biological constraints.
Cognition and Operant Conditioning
Biological Predispositions
Biological constraints predispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive.
Brelands trained animals using operant principles.
Instinctive drift
- the tendency of an animal to revert to instinctive behaviors
Edward Chase Tolman & C.H. Honzik
Rats explore maze
cognitive map
- mental representation of the maze
Did not demonstrate learning until necessary to know environment to get food
Latent Learning
- learning that becomes apparent only when there is some incentive to demonstrate it
Latent Learning
- sudden and often novel realization of the solution to a problem
an "AH-HA!" moment
Insight Learning
Although Skinner was skeptical of "cognitive science", it has been found that cognitive processes are at work in operant learning.

Finding a solution to a math problem in a sudden moment after trying to work on it for a long time.
Figuring out a way to make your bed fit in your room.
Reading for the sake of reading (enjoyment)
: Reading for the sake of not failing the quiz.
: Playing a sport because you enjoy the sport.
: Playing a sport because you could get a scholarship out of it.
Food helps animals survive, therefore food is an excellent enforcer.
Humans fear of snakes

After your parent drives you to school for three years, you don't demonstrate that you know the path until you drive.
Observing Ms. DiGiacomo teach, but not demonstrating that we know how to lecture until put in the position.
intrinsic motivation-

the desire to perform a behavior effectively and for its own sake
extrinsic motivation-
the desire to behave in a certain way to receive external rewards or avoid threatened punishment
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
How does punishment affect behavior?
Reinforcement increases a behavior, but punishment does the opposite.
If someone wanted to restrain an unwanted behavior, that person would administer a quick and sure punishment.

Physical punishment may increase aggressiveness by modeling aggression as a way to cope with problems. Some researchers found evidence that spanked kids are at increased risk for aggression.
How physical punishment affects behavior
Example of physical punishment and its outcome
A child swears, and a parent spanks the child as punishment. The behavior stops, and the parent feels accomplished because their actions stopped a behavior.
But was the punishment effective to put an end to the swearing, or did the child learn that swearing is wrong to do around the house, but is it okay to swear elsewhere?
How might operant conditioning principles be applied at school, in sports, at work, at home and for self- improvement?
must be immediately told what they are doing wrong
pace each student vs give all same work
positive reinforcement
Thomas Simek and Richard O’Brien teaching golf and baseball
golf- start with short putts and gradually go to longer putts
baseball player hit smaller object from longer distance gradually
build confidence
superstitious behavior
hitting plate before swing
Increases productivity
reinforcement should not be immediate
IBM Thomas Watson- gave employee check on the spot if they did something good
effective manager may write notes or show appreciation for good
increases the productivity of people
parents yelling at child/ anger towards child creates a strained relationship overtime
Self -Improvement
self control
state goal
monitor how often behavior is actually done
reinforce desired behavior
reduce rewards
Skinner's Experiments
law of effect:
rewarded behavior is likely to occur
developed behavioral technology that reveals principles of behavior control
operant chamber
(Skinner Box)
: procedure in which reinforcers guide an animal's actions toward a desired behavior
successive approximations
discriminative stimulus
Primary and Conditioned Reinforcements
primary: unlearned
ex) food
conditioned (secondary): associated with primary reinforcements
ex) money
Immediate vs. Delayed Reinforcers
immediate: rat will respond to the behavior
delay: rat will not respond to behavior
humans respond to delayed reinforcers
ex) paycheck
Classical vs Operant Conditioning
Can you think of examples of reinforcements and punishments?
Working with a partner come up with one example of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.

Conditioning Experiment
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