Reflection Paper

2112 words - 9 pages

Operant Conditioning is a way of learning that uses rewards and punishments for certain behaviors. It was first coined by BF Skinner. It is also known as Skinner Conditioning. It creates an association between a consequence and a behavior. Sometimes it is also referred to as response-stimulus conditioning. Operant conditioning is related to classical condition but focuses more on why the behavior is happening & what the drive is behind it to accomplish the task at hand.
Skinner conducted an experiment to test his new theory. In his experiment, he put animals into a box. Initially, he had a rat pull down on a lever that would give it food. This would eventually condition the rat to learn that whenever it pulled on the lever, it would get food. With this, Skinner came up with three types of responses that follows behavior. They are neutral operants, reinforcers and punishers. A neutral operant is a response from the surrounding area that does not favor or disfavor the probability of a certain behavior being repeated.
A reinforcer is a response from a surrounding area that will increase the chance of a certain behavior being preformed again. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation at hand. A punishment is a response from the surrounding area that decreases the chance a certain behavior is being preformed again. The experiment showed Skinner that his theory had truth to it and began to expand it into human behavior.
Skinner created the theory because he was a behaviorist, he was interested in human behavior and wanted to learn more about it. He wanted to figure out why human beings do certain things the ways they do. This led him to do his experiment with the rat. The rat experiment can be applied to humans as well because beings work towards something because of the reward that is awaiting them.
An example of operant conditioning would be a student getting an education at a college. The student is going to university to get a degree that will help them career wise and lead to a better life. In that sense, in terms of Skinner's experiment, the rat is the college student, and the degree is the food. The college student will continue to take classes for the end result of getting the degree, just as the rat continues to pull the lever to get the food.
In his book, Learning and Behavior, Paul Chance and Mark A. Krause (2008) states that positive reinforcement, according with Skinner, occur whether the emergence of or the increment in the intensity of a stimulus, follow a behavior. This stimulus is known as positive reinforce and its main function is strengthen the behavior that come before it. Positive reinforcement is also known as rewarding learning because reinforces often tend to be rewards, but Skinner did not like this way to called it. Skinner argued that even though people are rewarded through this process, it is important to keep in mind that the behavior is reinforced. When we called it rewarding...

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