Classical and Operant Conditioning at Home

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Writing Assignment #1
Kristy L. Weber
PSY 101 06H – Online
Instructor Stacey Le Fevre
September 30, 2011

The study of learning has been of interest to psychologists for over 100 years (Ciccarelli & White. pp.6). Learning is defined as the process leading to any relatively permanent change in behavior (pp.170). There are four possible consequences for any behavior: 1. Something good can start or be presented, causing a specific behavior to increase. In Psychology, this is referred to as Positive Reinforcement. 2. Something bad can end or be taken away, causing a specific behavior to increase. This is Negative Reinforcement. 3. Something good can be ended or taken away, causing a specific behavior to decrease. This is Punishment by Removal, or Negative Punishment. 4. Something bad can start or be presented, causing a specific behavior to decrease. This is referred to as Punishment by Application, or Positive Punishment. This paper will present specific examples of the above four different learning theories and illustrate how each can be a tool for behavior modification. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Positive Reinforcement occurs when something is presented after a specific behavior, and as a result, the behavior increases (pp.182). I often use positive reinforcement as a behavior modification tool on my husband. The first step to effective positive reinforcement is learning what the subject responds to. In my case, I have observed that my husband responds positively to physical attention. Hugs, kisses, hand-holding and sex are very pleasing to him. Although I am not naturally a physically attentive person, I know that I can use this type of attention to modify my husband’s behavior.

I am extremely allergic to my husband’s dogs. He knows this; I take daily allergy medication and dust and vacuum the house multiple times per week to control the dander. Knowing that I hate to vacuum, early in the marriage my...
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