Theory of operant conditioning
Theory of operant conditioning (instrumental conditioning) is the application of a character’s precursor and or its effects to pressurize the occurrence and type of character. Operant conditioning can be differentiated from classical conditioning (respondent conditioning) in that operant conditioning focuses on the adjustment of voluntary behavior or operant character. Operant character functions on the environment and is sustained through its outcomes, while classical conditioning focuses on restraining of reflexive (reflex) traits that are drawn by the precursor circumstances. This implies that it is way of studying, which happens through incentives and penalties for the character. This theory was first established by B.F. Skinner and he strongly trust that inner feelings and encouragement cannot be applied to illustrate behavior. In its position, he proposed that we should only observe the external practical human character. Psychology can result to science only if the research of character and studying is behavioral change that is an outcome of environmental circumstances. Common assumptions relating to instructions on Skinner’s theory is his beliefs concerning the state of a behavioral science and afterwards identifies traits of gained behavior. Instructional elements focused on this theory illustrates that teaching happens when a reaction is activated initially and then reinforced (Gredler, 2001).
Compare and contrast positive and negative reinforcement
The phrase positive or negative is applied in their familiar sense; however, positive refers to the inclusion, and negative refers to the removal. What could be included or removed can be either reinforcement or punishment. The learner usually starts with nothing in the mind (tabular rasa) and character is modeled by positive or negative reinforcement. In our case positive reinforcement (Reinforcement): happens when character (reaction) is pursued by a stimulus, which is appealing or encouraging, raising the occurrence of that character. In the Skinner box experiment, an incentive, which in this case is food or sugar solution, may be provided when the rat aims at target habit like stepping on the lever. While on the other hand, negative reinforcement (escape): happens when a character (reaction) is pursued by the extraction of an indisposed stimulus, thus raising that character’s occurrence. In the Skinner box experiment, negative reinforcement may be a deafening noise consistently reverberating inside the rat’s cage up to an extent that it cause the rat to aim at the target, like stepping on the lever, then the deafening noise can be eliminated. Negative reinforcement assumes an already live overriding variable while positive reinforcement functions by means of inclusion of an overriding variable inside the released character and the reaction. This ensures negative reinforcement is not only based on operant, but also on common transitory plan of indisposed stimulus (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005).
Determine which form of reinforcement is the most effective. Explain your reasoning.
Both positive and negative reinforcement raises the chance that the precursor character would occur again. In contrast, punishment (both positive and negative) reduces the chances of precursor’s character occurring once more. Positive illustrates the use of a stimulus; negative illustrates limiting of the stimulus. The human cognitive process requires stimulation by influence of positive changes. For instance, Skinner suggested the development of a positive classroom to enhance the learning process; hence, positive reinforcement is most effective. In addition, Skinner’s theory is dependent on the fact that studying is a subject of the environmental change in explicit character. Changes in character are the outcome of a person’s reaction to incidents or stimuli, which happens a certain environment or given condition. When a given stimulus-reaction design is strengthen or motivated the person is conditioned to react to the unique traits of operant conditioning comparative to the preceding types of behaviorism (Cherry, 2010).
Furthermore, according to Skinner, a character that is positively reinforced in most cases will occur once more. However, since the two events are mutually exclusive, alternating between positive and negative reinforcement can also be effective. A character followed by a strengthening stimulus leads to a raising potential of that character happening again in future. Thus, it could be deemed that negative reinforcement could be more effective in circumstance where indisposed conditions are in order and positive reinforcement can be more effective in places where there is no indisposed conditions arranged in order, and inclusion of a positive reinforce may result to future development of the required character (Boeree, 1998)
Select a scenario in which you would apply operant conditioning to shape behavior. Define the shaping process in your scenario.
In the scenario of bring up a child, a plan of supportive reinforcers preceding a set of isolative stimuli would develop a chain of strengtheners, which could finally result to common reinforcement of socio-ethical decent proclamations. When disciplining a child, the main reinforcer is the positive reinforcement of a consumable incentive delivered after the accomplishment of the desired character. For example, if a child has a day at school where he is been recommended for having less than two warnings on his character, a parent can encourage him further with chocolate after school. The chocolate is a basic reinforcer however; there are many approaches of reinforcement, which can be related to the basic reinforcers. For example, if a teacher calls out on one of his learners stating that I have previously warned you and I am going to repeat it once more, by doing this the teacher is creating an isolative stimuli, since the child’s reaction is accommodated by the chocolate. In addition, the peer influence related to the teacher’s warning is a supportive reinforcer. Finally, the idea of the plan of reinforcing is to harmonize the child’s reactions to a socially desired character (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005).
Create a reinforcement schedule for your selected behavior
The reinforcement plan for my situation is that the school should be dependable so that it brings the character of the child under control. If the parent fails to bring the chocolate intentionally, then that would act as a punishment instead of reinforcement. The failure to provide the chocolate is the restraining of a positive reinforcer. This likelihood form of punishment would lead elimination of the good character if other common reinforcers were not presented to support the behavior. Several supportive reinforcers cannot maintain character adjustment. The sequence should finally be joined to basic reinforcers. In addition, if the teacher were to feel sorry for the child and choose only to communicate the misconduct to the parent, then the chocolate would start to be work as reinforcement on bad character. This is because the child would be getting the stimuli despite the bad behavior back in school, nevertheless, that negative reinforcement dramatically changes everything. However, I believe in real disciplinary action to be taken against the offender, but the initiation of such a form of punishment creates fears to the child instead of modeling him to develop good character. Nevertheless, once a plan of punishment is initiated the limiting of that punishment intensely raises the potential of the child changing his character (Gredler, 2001).
Blackman, D. (1974). Operant conditioning: an experimental analysis of behavior. Great
Britain: Cambridge University Press.
Cherry, K. (2010). Introduction to Operant Conditioning. Retrieved on April 6, 2011, from
Davey, G. (1981). Application of conditioning theory. USA: Taylor & Francis Publishers.
Gredler, M. (2001). Learning & Instruction: Theories into Practice. Saddle River, NJ: Prentice
Hergenhahn, B. R., & Olson, M. H. (2005). An introduction to theories of learning. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers.