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B.F.Skinner's Operant Conditioing

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Erin Perryman

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of B.F.Skinner's Operant Conditioing

B.F.Skinner's Operant Conditioning
Skinner's Beliefs
Felt more could be understood by observing than by studying internal events
Felt that much could be learned about behavior by looking at actions and consequences connected to the behavior
Conditioning Model:
discriminative stimulus
reinforcing stimulus
Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner
Born March 20, 1904 in Pennsylavia
Attended Hamilton University and Harvard University
Taught at Indiana University and Harvard University
Died August 18, 1990
Type S
"Respondant behavior" stimulus causes a response in a person
Type R
"Operant behavior" responses are determined by the consequence
Retrieved from bfskinner.org/about-b-f-skinner-2/
By Shanna Rodgers and Erin Abernathy
Within a functional analysis, there is conditioning.

conditioning: "the strengthening of behavior which results from reinforcement" p. 90

2 Types of Conditioning:
also shown by the model
A (Antecedent) ---> B (Behavior) ---> C (Consequence)
Colleagues, if you have filled out a Functional Behavior Analysis or worked to change a students behavior, you may be familiar with the above model.
Watch until 3:45
Operant Conditioning Basic Processes
t: strengthens a response and makes it more likely to occur
positive reinforcement: stimulus is added
negative reinforcement: stimulus is removed
What type of reinforcement is happening here?
Primary reinforcer
: meeting basic needs (food, water, shelter)
Secondary reinforcer
: connected to primary reinforcer
(favorite cup used to drink from, connected to need of drinking)
Generalized reinforcer: "secondary reinforcer that becomes paired with more than one primary reinforce" (work) p. 93

"referred to his means of examining behavior as a
functional analysis
" p. 89
Premack Principle
Schedules of Reinforcement
Premack Principle
Since humans are unpredictible, it is difficult to determine whether a consequence will be a reinforcer
Trial and error needs to be used when selecting reinforcers
Behavior Modification
Behavior modifications refers to the systematic application of behavioral learning principles to facilitate adaptive behaviors (Ullmann & Krasner, 1965).
The basic techniques of behavior modification include reinforcement of desired behaviors and extinction of undesired ones. Punishment is rarely employed but, when used, more often involves removing a positive reinforcer rather than presenting a negative reinforcer.
"Punishment decreases the future likelihood of responding to a stimulus. Punishment may involve withdrawing a positive reinforcer or presenting a negative reinforcer following a response."
Alternatives to punishment:

Change the discriminative stimuli (ex: move misbehaving student from back to front of class
Allow the unwanted behavior to continue (ex: let the student wear themselves out with the behavior- tantrum)
Extinguish unwanted behavior by ignoring (use with minor behaviors)
Condition incompatible behavior with positive reinforcement (praise)
Schunk, 2012, p.94
Schedules of Reinforcement
continuous schedule
- reinforcing every correct response
intermittent schedule
- reinforce correct responses, but not all
fixed- interval schedule
- time period is constant from one reinforcement to the next
variable- interval schedule
- time period varies from occasion to occasion, try to increase time period
fixed-ratio schedule
- every "n"th response is reinforced, n is constant
variable-ratio schedule
- every "n"th response is reinforced, the value varies around an average number
Schedules of reinforcement provide data concerning response patterns. There are positive and negative factors to each so keep your student in mind when selecting a reinforcement schedule.
Schunk, 2012, p. 95-96
First started with animals, then applied ideas to human behaviors
Schunk, 2012
Retrieved from
Schunk, 2012
Schunk, 2012
Schunk, 2012
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Schunk, 2012
Once a response occurs regularly to a given stimulus, the response may occur as a response to other stimuli

ex: Student who has good academic habits, and has benefited from having good academic habits can translate habits to all classes.
Compliments generalization
Intensity response and rate response depends on the stimulus and situation
discrimination is taught by "desired responses should be reinforced and unwanted responses extinguished by nonreinforcement" p. 98
Schunk, 2012
Shaping is learning with corrective feedback, obtains the desired form or rate of behavior
Identify what the student can do
Identify the desired behavior
Identify potential reinforcers in the student's environment
Break the desired behavior into small substeps to be mastered sequentially
Move the student from the initial behavior to the desired behavior by successfully reinforcing from each approximation to the desired behavior
Schunk, 2012, p. 99
Schunk, D. H. (2012).
Learning theories: An educational
(6th ed.) Greensboro, NC: Pearson
B.F. Skinner Foundation. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from bfskinner.org/about-b-f-skinner-2/
McLeod, S.A. (2007). Skinner-Operant Conditioning.
Simply Psychology
. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from
Self Regulation
Self regulation refers to the processes that learners use to systematically focus their thoughts, feelings, and actions, on the attainment of their goals (Zimmerman, 2000).
Three major phases with the central importance of reflection are:
Operant conditioning is applicable to educational practice because it is a vehicle for teachers to achieve behavior modification in order to improve classroom mangement and facilitate learning.
Schunk, 2012
Schunk, 2012, p.101
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