behaviorist tradition, beyond the Pavlovian conditioning into the more
complex arena of voluntary behavior.
•Not all behavior is reflexive. It is very difficult to understand the stimulus
that is driving the human behavior. What was the stimulus that produced the
response? Ex) a child enters a room unsupervised, and finds a bookshelf.
W/o proper supervision the child will try to climb it like a ladder?
•There is no stimulus that caused the child to climb the bookshelf like it was
a ladder. There was nothing caused the child to climb the bookstore, rather
the presence of the bookshelf gave the occasion/opportunity to climb. What
are the consequences that come from climbing the bookshelf? If you slip and
fall after losing your grip on the bookshelf. The consequences of his behavior
that determines what the boy will learn.
•OPERANT APPROACH TO LEARNING: Not learning by association but
learning through consequences. We act in the world, and our actions have
consequences. If those consequences are (+) they increase the likelihood
that we will behave that we will behave similarly in the future. If the
consequences are (-) they decrease the likelihood that we will behave that we
will behave similarly in the future.
•Thorndike’s law of behavior: Cat had to unlatch the door to get the food.
1st time, through trial and error opens the latch and takes the food. With each
trial the time elapsed decreases for the cat to open the latch. The access to
the food when the cat is able to escape produces a satisfied state of affairs.
The state of affairs of being fed is satisfying to the cat. There is a learning
that occurs through the consequence of its own behavior. Those behaviors
that produce the desired consequence (hitting the latch that opens the door),
then become rewarded, and are encouraged to occur in the future.
•Skinner wanted to not to consider the satisfied state of affairs that existed
in the cat’s mind. He was a radical behaviorist so he only wanted to focus on
what was observable. We have no access to what goes on in the cat’s
behavior. What’s available is the cat’s behavior, and the consequences, and
the relationship b/w them.
•Reinforcement – those stimuli that increase the probability of a behavior/or
the response that follows it. Ie) rewards. Ex – child behaviors in a good way.
Praising the child is a reward, increases the likelihood that the child will
behave that way in the future.
•Reinforcements don’t have to be in the way of a reward. They can come in
the way of a relief. Relief is reinforcement that occurs b/c a bad thing has
been taken away. You can increase the probability of a behavior in the future
by showing that that behavior eliminates a bad thing from happening. Ex:
overweight child: faces the constant criticism of parents. The child finds that
by losing weight, the criticism goes away.