Behaviorism is a psychological approach that emphasizes the role of environmental factors in determining behavior. Operant conditioning is a type of learning that occurs as a consequence of the consequences of a behavior. Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes and behavior.
The theory of operant conditioning was first proposed by psychologist B. F. Skinner in the 1930s. It states that behavior is determined by its consequences; specifically, whether those consequences are reinforcing or punishing.
Reinforcing stimuli increase the likelihood of a behavior being repeated, while punishing stimuli decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. The most common reinforcement/punishment activities used in operant conditioning are providing rewards (positive reinforcement) and administering electric shocks (negative reinforcement).
The father of the behavioral approach to psychology, B.F Skinner, greatly impacted the psychological community with his contributions. Born in 1904, he had a relatively average childhood according to him. He grew up in a warm and stable family (Corey, 2009).
Skinner’s father worked as a lawyer and his mother was a housewife (Corey, 2009). Skinner had two older brothers, one of whom died at an early age (Corey, 2009). As a child, Skinner enjoyed reading, tinkering with mechanical objects, and collecting insects (Corey, 2009).
Skinner went to Hamilton College where he majored in English literature (Corey, 2009). It was during his time at Hamilton College when Skinner first became interested in psychology after taking a required course in the subject (Corey, 2009). After graduating from Hamilton College, Skinner enrolled in Harvard University to study psychology (Corey, 2009). During his time as a graduate student at Harvard University, Skinner became increasingly interested in behaviorism (Corey, 2009).
In 1930, Skinner married Yvonne Blue (Corey, 2009). The couple had two daughters, Julie and Deborah (Corey, 2009). Skinner and his family lived in a rural area where he built his own home and raised chickens (Corey, 2009).
After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1931, Skinner accepted a position as a research fellow at the Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Minneapolis (Corey, 2009). It was during his time at the University of Minnesota when Skinner began to develop his theory of operant conditioning (Corey, 2009). In 1938, Skinner published his first book on behaviorism entitled The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis (Corey, 2009).
The basic premise of Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning is that behavior is a function of its consequences (Corey, 2009). Skinner believed that reinforcement or punishment could be used to shape and modify behavior (Corey, 2009). Skinner conducted numerous experiments with animals to test his theory of operant conditioning (Corey, 2009).
One of Skinner’s most famous experiments was the “Skinner Box” experiment (Corey, 2009). The Skinner Box is a device that allows an animal to be placed inside and can control the delivery of reinforcement or punishment (Corey, 2009). In the original experiment, rats were placed in the Skinner Box and then given a food pellet as reinforcement for pressing a lever (Corey, 2009).
The rats quickly learned to press the lever in order to receive food pellets and would do so repeatedly (Corey, 2009). Skinner then introduced a variable interval schedule of reinforcement, which means that the reinforcement is given at random intervals (Corey, 2009). The rats continued to press the lever even though they did not know when they would receive reinforcement (Corey, 2009).
Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning has been extensively studied and applied to human behavior (Corey, 2009). Operant conditioning has been used to shape and modify human behavior in a variety of settings including education, business, and therapy (Corey, 2009).
Skinner is best known for his work on behaviorism and operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, the consequences of a behaviour determine how likely it is that the behaviour will be repeated in the future. There are four basic principles of operant conditioning:
– positive reinforcement, which rewards a behaviour to increase the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated;
– negative reinforcement, which removes an unpleasant condition after a desired behaviour is displayed, in order to increase the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated;
– punishment, which involves bringing an unpleasant consequence after a behaviour is displayed in order to decrease its likelihood of being repeated; and
– extinction, which is when a behaviour stops occurring after it is no longer consistently reinforced.
Behaviourism is the idea that all behaviours are learned through conditioning. Operant conditioning is just one type of conditioning and refers to the way that behaviours are controlled by their consequences. The four basic principles of operant conditioning show how different consequences can influence whether a behaviour is more or less likely to occur in the future. By understanding these principles, we can better understand how our own behaviours are determined and controlled.
Five minds behind the study of psychology- B.F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov, and Watson- offer various theories on human behavior that both contrast and coincide in interesting ways.
The five theories are behaviorism, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, social learning theory, and cognitive psychology.
Behaviorism is the study of how people learn by observing the actions of others. The three main types of behaviorism are classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning theory. Classical conditioning is when a person associates a certain stimulus with a certain response. For example, if a person hears a loud noise every time they see a dog, they will eventually associate the noise with dogs and become scared of them.
Operant conditioning is when a person learns to associate a certain behavior with a certain consequence. For example, if a child is given candy every time they clean their room, they will learn to associate cleaning their room with getting candy. Social learning theory is when a person learns by observing the actions of others and imitating them. For example, if a child sees their parents brush their teeth every day, they will learn to brush their teeth as well.
Cognitive psychology is the study of how people think and make decisions. The three main types of cognitive psychology are decision-making, problem-solving, and memory. Decision-making is when a person has to choose between two or more options. For example, if a person is trying to decide whether to buy a car or a house, they will use cognitive psychology to help them make the best decision.
Problem-solving is when a person has to figure out how to do something. For example, if a person is trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, they will use cognitive psychology to help them solve the problem. Memory is when a person remembers something. For example, if a person remembers their childhood home, they will use cognitive psychology to help them remember it.
Each of these five theories has its own strengths and weaknesses. Behaviorism is good at explaining how people learn by observing the actions of others, but it does not explain how people think and make decisions. Operant conditioning is good at explaining how people learn by associating certain behaviors with certain consequences, but it does not explain why people do certain things.
Classical conditioning is good at explaining how people associate certain stimuli with certain responses, but it does not explain how people think and make decisions. Social learning theory is good at explaining how people learn by observing the actions of others and imitating them, but it does not explain why people do certain things. Cognitive psychology is good at explaining how people think and make decisions, but it does not explain how people learn by observing the actions of others.