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B. F. Skinner (1904–1990)
- He is the father of Operant Conditioning, but his work was based on Thorndike’s law of effect.
Skinner introduced a new term into the Law of Effect - Reinforcement. Behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated (i.e. strengthened); behavior which is not reinforced tends to die out-or be extinguished (i.e. weakened)
Edward L. Thorndike (1874–1949)
LAW OF EFFECT - stating that if an action is followed by a pleasurable consequence, it will tend to be repeated, and if followed by an unpleasant consequence, it will tend not to be repeated.
THE CONCEPT OF REINFORCEMENT
What is a reinforcement?
It is a consequence that is in some way pleasurable to the organism, which relates back to Thorndike’s law of effect.
Primary and Secondary Reinforcers:
Primary - occurs naturally and does not require learning in order to work.
Secondary - involves stimuli that have become rewarding by being paired with another reinforcing stimulus.
Positive and Negative Reinforcement:
Positive - involves the addition of something to increase a response.
Negative - involves removing something in order to increase a response.
SCHEDULES OF REINFORCEMENT
1. Continuous Reinforcement - the desired behavior is reinforced every single time it occurs.
2. Partial Reinforcement - the response is reinforced only part of the time
a. Fixed-ratio schedules - are those where a response is reinforced only after a specified number of responses.
b. Variable-ratio schedules - occur when a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses.
c. Fixed-interval schedules - are those where the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed.
d. Variable-interval schedules - occur when a response is rewarded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed.
- any event or object that, when following a response, makes that response less likely to happen again.
Punishment by application - the punishment of a response by the addition or experiencing of an unpleasant stimulus.
Punishment by removal - the punishment of a response by the removal of a pleasurable stimulus.
HOW TO MAKE PUNISHMENT MORE EFFECTIVE?
1. Punishment should immediately follow the behavior it is meant to punish.
2. Punishment should be consistent.
3. Punishment of the wrong behavior should be paired, whenever possible, with reinforcement of the right behavior.
OTHER CONCEPTS IN OPERANT CONDITIONING
Discriminative Stimulus - any stimulus that provides an organism with a cue
for making a certain response in order to obtain reinforcement.
Shaping - small steps toward some ultimate goal are reinforced until the
goal itself is reached.
Extinction - removal of the reinforcement
Spontaneous recovery – recurring of operant response to get the reinforcer