Operant Conditioning

& B.F. Skinner


Operant Conditioning: learn to associate a response (our behavior) and its consequence and thus repeat acts followed by good results and avoid acts followed by bad results. This is different from classical, because you are not connecting two stimuli but an action and a response

Extinction: occurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced

Operant Chamber: in operant conditioning research, a chamber (Skinner's box) containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer; attached devices record the animals rate of bar pressing or key pressing

Shaping: an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforceres guide behavior toward closer and closer approximations of the desired behavior

Reinforcer: in operant conditioning, any event that strengthens the behavior it follows

Operant Conditioning can be used to train pets, such as rats, by giving them a treat in a...

fixed-ratio-- a treat after a certain amount of acts

variable-ratio-- a treat after a random amount of acts

fixed-interval-- a treat after a certain amount of time

variable-interval-- a treat at random times

This is Skinner's box

Skinner's Box

The design of Skinner boxes can vary depending upon the type of animal and the experimental variables. The box is a chamber that includes at least one lever, bar, or key that the animal can manipulate. When the lever is pressed, food, water, or some other type of reinforcement might be dispensed. Other stimuli can also be presented including lights, sounds, and images. In some instances, the floor of the chamber may be electrified. The animal then connects that they will get either a treat or electrification when they do a certain action.

B.F. Skinner

He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human action was the result of the consequences of that same action. If the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated; however if the consequences were good, the actions that led to it would be reinforced. He called this the principle of reinforcement.

Classical Conditioning

The second type of conditioning, classical, is when an animal connects two uncontrollable stimuli. These theories are most researched by Pavlov (Pavlov's dogs--where they connected the sound of a tone with food, making them salivate the sound) and Watson who believed all differences in behavior were due to differences in learning.

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