July 30, 2012
In this paper there will be an examination of the Operant Conditioning theory. It will describe the theory, and compare and contrast the positive and negative reinforcement. It will determine which form of reinforcement is the most effective, and will give an explanation of the reasoning behind that choice. It will also give a scenario in which operant conditioning is applied and how it shapes behavior. It will show a schedule that could be used in the reinforcement of the selected behavior in the scenario. The theory of operant conditioning is that a response can be conditioned in a person and become a learned behavior by reinforcing the response the person gives to a certain type of stimuli. In short it means that for every action there is a consequence good or bad. A simple example of this might be if you were to reward a child with a cookie for giving a correct response on a math problem. By giving them the cookie it positively reinforces that response into becoming a learned behavior and the child will want to do well at math so they can have the cookies (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). There are two sides to this coin however, you can condition a person to exhibit a positive behavior by giving them positive reinforcement and you can also condition the person to exhibit a negative behavior by using negative reinforcements. Using operant conditioning to get a positively reinforced behavior you would need to keep giving positive rewards until a positive behavior is exhibited by the person. Like for example a car salesperson, if you were to give a bonus to the salesperson for selling a particular amount of cars, they would be encouraged to sell more cars to receive the bonus which is a positive reinforcement of the behavior. On the negative reinforcement side you could use a shock collar for a barking dog as an example. If the dog barks they receive a...