Operant Conditioning

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  • Operant Conditioning
    • This is where a new behaviour is created or an existing behaviour removed as a result of selective use of rewards and punishments.
    • Behaviour is shaped by successive reinforcement until the animal is doing precisely what is wanted
    • The principle of operant conditioning is
      • Positive reinforcement
        • To increase the behaviour something good is given (reward,food)
      • Negative reinforcement
        • To increase behaviour something bad is taken away (electric shock)
      • Negative punishment
        • to decrease behaviour something bad is given (smack, detention)
      • Positive punishment
        • to decrease behaviour something good is taken away (ps3, mobile)
      • Primary reinforcement
        • are linked to basic needs (food, water, sex and warmth)
      • Secondary reinforcement
        • Something that can satisfy a basic need (money, tokens, stickers, praise, extra time)
    • Continuous reinforcement
      • Where the organism is reinforced every time the behaviour is preformed is not seen as a very effective as the behaviour will stop almost immediately if the reinforcer is missed and the rate of responding is not very high for most reinforcers
    • Fixed ration schedule
      • Is where the reinforcer is given for every nth time the action is preformed
    • Variable ratio
      • Is no predictability about about when the reinforcer will occur
    • Fixed interval
      • Is where the reinforcer comes after a set amount of time
    • Variable interval
      • Reinforcement comes after a period of time that varied but averages out at a certain level: it produces a slow but very steady rate of responding and is resistant to extinction
    • Evaluation
      • studies use experimental method and controls so they are scientific and cause and effect conclusions can be drawn. Both CC and OC can be used in therapies so they have practical applications. A lot of it is common sense and useful when applied to learning in schools etc and token economy
      • Studies use animals so generalisation and credibility is in doubt. Studies are lab experiments and use animals so validity is questionable too. Many studies use animals generalised to humans, does not explain genetic/biological ones, adults dont always reinforce young children so how do children know how to use correct grammer


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