March 26, 2012
Joycelynn Flowers-Ashton, Ph.D.
Recognition of time and cost saving suggestions is met with a monetary or other tangible reward. The possibility of employees continuing to develop other cost and time-saving ideas carries high probability. This scenario is an example of operant conditioning, which intimates that an organism encountering a reinforcing stimulus (monetary or tangible reward) increases the probability of recurrence. The following study examines the theory of operant conditioning, positive and, negative reinforcements, effectiveness, a real-world application of operant conditioning, and an applicable reinforcement schedule. Theory of Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning is a form of learning that exists within the science of psychology and is one of two types of conditioning, the other, classical conditioning. Operant conditioning teaches an organism to respond by thinking, learning, or reacting to a stimulus (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Whether training an animal to respond to a command, or training a child to behave in a manner conducive to a parent’s wishes, the application of operant conditioning influences continuation or discontinuation of a response. The theory of operant conditioning operates on reinforcements, which strengthens or increases behavior, generally in the form of rewards or punishments (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Reinforcement Comparisons and Contrasts
Reinforcements strengthen the likelihood of reoccurrence of a response and are either positive or negative. As a component of the process of learning, reinforcements influence response rate and strength. Positive reinforcement adds to, whereas negative or, punitive reinforcement diminish and remove (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Negative and positive reinforcement both seek to increase a response. Positive reinforcement increases the probability that a...
References: Olson, M. H. & Hergenhahn, B.R. (2009). An introduction to the theories of learning (8th ed.) Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. Oxford, England. Macmillan.
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