Operant Conditioning Essay

The term operant conditioning is heard all over the psychological science universe. It is one of the first theories that one is introduced to during their psychological science larning old ages. So. what precisely is this theory? While larning about operant conditioning we must pay attending to two necessities. positive and negative supports. These two play a cardinal function in operant conditioning and behaviours. But which reinforcement method plants better? Positive or negative? There are a few facets to look into when finding which method works the best. Once operant conditioning. positive support. and negative support are learned. so it becomes easy for an single to take the information and form a behaviour. Along with determining behaviours. the creative activity of a reinforcement agenda can besides be applied to the selected behaviour.

The Theory of Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning was created by behaviourist BF Skinner. Operant conditioning occurs through wagess and penalties for behaviours. This creates a nexus between a behaviour and a effect for that behaviour. Skinner had believed that it was non truly necessary to look at internal ideas and motive in order to explicate behavior. Alternatively we should look merely at the external discernible causes of human behaviour ( Cherry. 2005 ) . When we have actions that are followed by support. they will be strengthened and so more likely to happen once more in the hereafter. However. actions that result in penalties or non-desirable effects will be the opposite. These actions will be weakened and less likely to happen once more ( Cherry. 2005 ) . An illustration of operant conditioning would be a immature kid during enamored preparation. The immature male child would have a cooky along with congratulations right after he goes potty in the lavatory but receives nil when he goes in his nappy. As a consequence of this. he learns to travel in the lavatory and avoids traveling in the nappy.

Positive and Negative Support

Let us foremost get down with what a support is. A support is any event that strengthens or increases the behaviour it follows ( Cherry. 2005 ) . Now. there are two types of supports and they are negative support and positive support. With positive support. favourable events or results are presented after the behaviour. This is where the behaviour is strengthened ( Cherry. 2005 ) . This occurs because there is the add-on of something new such as congratulations or an instantaneous wages. An illustration of this would be small Johnny having a dollar right after he cleans his room. On the other manus. with negative support there is remotion of an unfavourable event or result after the show of a behaviour. This in bend will beef up the response when something that is looked at as unpleasant is removed ( Cherry. 2005 ) .

An illustration for this would be the professor offering to call off the quiz for hebdomad two if everyone turns in their prep for hebdomad one. Now as one can see negative support is different from penalty because in the instances of penalty the behaviour decreases. In either one of these instances the behaviour of the single additions. To look at both positive and negative support. can we make up one’s mind which one is more favourable or which one will bring forth a better result? It seems as if that would depend on the single themselves.

Not everyone responds or reacts to stimuli in the same manner. In an sentiment. reaction can be based on personality. For illustration. a immature kid could systematically be given the option of money after cleaning their room on their ain and still non make it because it is non favourable to them. However. the same kid could leap for the chance of non holding to go to church if all their prep is turned in the hebdomad prior. On an single degree. a family can incorporate one kid that responds to positive support while the other responds to negative support.

The Scenario and Agenda

There are two reinforcement agendas. uninterrupted and partial. Continuous support is reenforcing the behaviour every individual clip it occurs ( Cherry. 2005 ) . With partial support. responses are merely strengthened portion of the clip ( Cherry. 2005 ) . There are four agendas with partial support. fixed ratio. fixed interval. variable ratio. and variable interval. Fixed ration is reenforcing a behaviour after a specific figure of responses have occurred. With fixed interval. a behaviour is reinforced after a specific period of clip has elapsed. Variable ratio involves reenforcing the behaviour after an unpredictable figure of responses and variable interval is reenforcing the behaviour after the unpredictable period of clip has elapsed. To better understand these agendas. it would be helpful to use a selected behaviour and first larn how operant conditioning can be applied.

As a individual parent of two girls. ages 14 and 11. larning how to use operant conditioning to determine their behaviour. has been really helpful. It was set up for the kids to convey place hebdomadal advancement studies after a few incidents of losing assignments. If the advancement studies were positive with no losing assignments the kids were praised on site and each given a dollar per category. If there were any missing assignments in any of their categories. so the kids would non have any money or congratulations. This is a positive support pick. The completion of assignments and classs from the kids in school increased in order for them to have a wages.

Now. it is clip to take the support agenda for the scenario merely talked approximately. It is understood that positive support was used by giving congratulations and a wages once the coveted assignments and classs were met every hebdomad. This would be an illustration of a uninterrupted support agenda. The coveted behaviour is reinforced every individual clip that it happens. With the scenario. every hebdomad that goes by with good classs and no losing assignments. the kids are rewarded with congratulations and money. This creates a strong association between the behaviour and the response ( Cherry. 2005 ) .


Operant conditioning relies on a reasonably simple premiss ; actions that are followed by support will be strengthened and more likely to happen once more in the hereafter ( Cherry. 2005 ) . This can be good or bad behaviour. Good behaviour was reinforced with the above scenario. However. if you give into the kid that kicks and shout every clip he wants a confect saloon in the shop. you are beef uping that negative behaviour. Learning occurs with positive and negative supports being cardinal parts to operant conditioning.

Both of these aid to increase or diminish the likeliness of the coveted behaviour. Determining which support is better. depends on the person at manus and what their personality will react to better. With the above scenario the kids responded better to positive support and with the support agenda. the likeliness that no losing assignments and good classs occur. additions. Operant conditioning is used every twenty-four hours and plays a critical function in the universe. By larning about the basicss of operant conditioning. determining behaviours can be easier than of all time! Well. non truly but hey. Rome was non built in a twenty-four hours.

Cherry. K. A. ( 2005 ) . Operant conditioning. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //psychology. about. com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/introopcond. htm

Cherry. K. A. ( 2005 ) . Agendas of support. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //psychology. about. com/od/behavioralpsychology/a/schedules. htm