Instrumental Conditioning

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  • Topic: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Reward system
  • Pages : 5 (1432 words )
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  • Published : October 1, 2011
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Instrumental Conditioning: Learning how to Tie Your Shoes
George T. Jackson,
University of Phoenix
Psychology of Learning
Dr. John Barker, Facilitator

Instrumental Conditioning: Learning how to Tie Your Shoes
Instrumental conditioning is a process that permits a change in behavior, and the change of behavior can be either negative or positive, depending on the environment, and the individual. This paper will evaluate the application of instrumental conditioning as it relates to teaching a child how to tie his shoes. I will provide a brief description to tie your shoes, included will be a comparison and contrast of the concept of positive and negative reinforcements as it relates to tying your shoes. The role of reward and punishment in tying your shoes, as well as an explanation of which form of instrumental conditioning would be most effective in learning how to tie his shoes.

What is Instrumental Conditioning?
According to (2011), instrumental conditioning also knows as operant conditioning is “The process of reinforcing a behavior by consistently giving positive or negative reinforcement. The goal is to increase the probability that the rewarded behavior will occur more frequently.” An example of instrumental conditioning would be a child is given a pack strawberry now-n-later candy after he cleans up his room; it is more likely that he will clean his room more regularly. The desired behavior is cleaning the room, and the instrument condition used is to teach the child to clean his room. Kirsch, Lynn, Vigorito, and Miller (2004) that “Instrumental (operant) conditioning is a type of learning that involves the acquisition of emitted responses (i.e., responses, like a wink of the eye, that can occur in the absence of reliable or well defined antecedent stimuli and are experienced as voluntary)”. One of the more important factors in instrumental conditioning is the consequence of the response. According to Terry (2009) “Responding often seems to be under exquisite control of the reinforcement conditions: Larger and tastier rewards provoke a more vigorous response, delayed rewards weaken responding, and the satiation of drive leads to a reduction in responding.” What this means is the sweeter the pot, the better the response, and if the pot is not as sweet, the response will be lessened.

Description How to Tie Your Shoes
The entire process of learning how to tie your shoes can take only a few seconds to a total of 60 minutes from start to finish. It can be an interesting process for the child who has never had to tie his own shoes. The individual will need two to three seconds to prepare himself to learn how to tie his shoes. He must have his shoes on, once he has his shoes on, he will pull the shoe strings together ensuring the shoe strings are even. The next step is to fold the shoe strings around each other and make a rabbit ear, once the rabbit each is achieved the child will take the other half of the shoe string and wrap it around the rabbit ear and form two rabbit ears. Once the two rabbit ears are formed the child will pull the rabbit ears together making a bow effect and finally the child will pull both rabbit ears tight so the shoe remains tied.

Compare and Contrast of Positive and Negative Reinforcement
A positive reinforcement is the presence of a response to a reinforce relationship. Terry (2009) states “In positive reinforcement, reinforce is contingent on the performance of the instrumental response.” Meaning the action is followed by a foreseeable outcome. A negative reinforcement is an attempt to encourage a particular behavior to continue in the future, the way it is achieved by eliminating the negative behavior. Ormrod (2008)...
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