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Skinner’s Principles of Operant Conditioning Can Be Applied to ...

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Skinner’s Principles of Operant Conditioning Can Be Applied to Personality Development

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  • August 2012
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2. Discuss how Skinner’s principles of operant conditioning can be applied to personality development. Operant conditioning (the shaping of behavior through reward and punishment)is a form of learning in which voluntary responses come to be controlled by their consequences. It probably governments a larger share of human behaviour than classical conditioning. Since most human responses are voluntary rather than reflexive. The study of operant conditioning was led by B.F.Skinner. Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by Favourable consequences and they tend not to repeat those responses that are followed by neutral or unfavourable consequences. In Skinner’s scheme, favourable, neutral or unfavourable consequences involve reinforcement, extinction and punishment respectively. In operant conditioning, reinforcement refers to any process that strengthens a particular behavior—that is, increases the chances that the behavior will occur again. According to Skinner, reinforcement can occur in two ways, which is called positive and negative reinforcement.. Positive reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened [increase in frequency].Positive reinforcement is roughly synonymously with the concept of reward. Positive reinforcement motivates much of positive behaviour. Negative reinforcement is a method of strengthening behaviour by following it with the removal or omission of an unpleasant stimulus. There are two types of negative reinforcement, escape and omission. In escape, performing a particular behavior leads to the removal of an unpleasant stimulus. For example, if a person with a headache tries a new pain reliever and the headache quickly disappears, this person will probably use the medication again the next time a headache occurs. In avoidance, people perform a behavior to avoid unpleasant consequences. For example, citizens may pay their taxes to avoid fines and penalties. In Skinner’s scheme punishment...