Operant Conditioning Paper

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Experimental analysis of behavior Pages: 4 (1339 words) Published: April 22, 2013
Operant Conditioning
Berline Jean Baptiste
March 4, 2013
Esther Siler-Colbert

When thinking about conditioning in general, one will, most likely, refer to classical, and operant conditioning right away. Furthermore, those who study psychology will associate classical conditioning with Ivan Pavlov who was a famous Russian psychologist and operant conditioning with B. F. Skinner, who was a very influential American psychologist. Even though both types of conditioning differ greatly from each other, they are still equally significant to education.

Operant Conditioning
If one follows the assumptions of a behaviorist, then not all behavior is genetically determined. Since it is not, it is either a function of responded or operant conditioning. Skinner surely followed the footsteps of E. L. Thorndike, who used the term “of instrumental conditioning instead of operant”. Both, however, believed that animals and humans are capable of more complicated behavior, albeit gradually. According to Skinner, this form of learning was a conditioning one, but one that was of a different kind from the one proposed by Pavlov. For instance, in respondent behavior, one does something in a passive manner to the environment; however, in operant conditioning, one does it because somewhere in the past this kind of behavior was associated with a pleasing outcome or with trying to avoid the occurrence of an unpleasant one. Therefore, quite opposite from what respondent behavior is, this kind of operant is always conditioned. Very important to indicate that the probability of a behavior occurring again, increases or decreases with the merit of its consequences. Clearly, it can be said that one learns to colligate an action to its consequence. The bond between the action and the consequence is referred to as contingency, which further declares one’s behavior in the future (Alloy, Riskind & Manos, 2005). In Skinner’s theory of operant...

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Martinez, M., E. (2010). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Upper Saddle River,
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Olson, M., H. & Hergenhahn, B., R. (2009). An Introduction to theories of learning. (8th. Ed.).
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