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Lecture 21

PSYC 1000 Lecture 21: Psych notes - module 21 - oct 22.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 1000
Professor
Paula Barata
Lecture
21

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Psych Module 21 – Operant Conditioning
Terms
Operant Conditioning – a type of learning in which behaviour is strengthened if followed by a
reinforcer or diminished if followed by a punisher.
Law of Effect – Thorndike’s principle that behaviours followed by favourable consequences
become more likely, and that behaviours followed by unfavourable consequences become less
likely.
Operant Chamber – In operant conditioning research, a chamber (aka a Skinner box) containing
a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforce; attached devices
record the animal’s rate of bar pressing or key pecking.
Reinforcement – “ “ “, any event that strengthens the behaviour it follows.
Shaping – an operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behaviour toward closer
and closer approximations of the desired behaviour.
Positive reinforcement – increasing behaviours by presenting positive stimulus that, when
presented after a response, strengthens the response.
Negative reinforcement – increasing behaviours by stopping or reducing negative stimuli. A
negative reinforcer is any stimulus that, when removed after a response, strengthens the
response. (Negative reinforce is not a negative punishment)
Primary reinforce – an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need.
Conditioned reinforcer – a stimulus that gains its reinforcing power through its association with a
primary reinforce; also known as a secondary reinforcer.
Reinforcement schedule – a pattern that defines how often a desired response will be
reinforced.
Continuous reinforcement – reinforcing the desired response every time it occurs.
Partial (intermittent) reinforcement – reinforcing a response only part of the time; results in
slower acquisition of a response but much greater resistance to extinction than does continuous
reinforcement.
Fixed-ratio schedule: in operant conditioning, a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a
response after an unpredictable number of responses.
Variable-ratio schedule: a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response after an
unpredictable number of responses.
Fixed-interval schedule – a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response only after a
specified time has elapsed.
Variable-interval schedule – a reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response at
unpredictable time intervals.
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