February 15 , 2013
Lecture 5: Operant Conditioning
• Natural reinforcer = “unconditioned” = something that felt reinforcing to begin with
and follows naturally from the behaviour, without needing anything to be “programmed”
and put in their artificially. Can happen without anyone else being involved, no one has
to give you something to deliberately reinforce it. Ex. feeling good when you’re full, when
you kiss, etc.
o As opposed to someone giving you a dollar for doing something for example.
Which are called programmed reinforcers = “conditioned”. Not born liking it.
Types of Positive Reinforcers:
o Money, makeup
o Food, drinks
o Yoga, exercise, hobbies you enjoy
o Praise, Compliments
Types of Negative Reinforcers:
• Escaping Something:
o Bad thing is already being experienced, and you escape from it
• Avoiding Something:
o Bad thing has not happened yet, and you avoid it before it does
• Someone feels so much in emotional distress that self-harm negatively reinforces
because it serves as an escape behaviour. It can make you feel numb, in a trance, February 15 , 2013
soothed, or even just feel intense pain instead of emotional distress. And, this is only
true for certain people
Tips on Changing Another Person’s Behaviour
• Make sure you really think about what is punishing/reinforcing to them
• People will want to avoid the punisher, so nagging, etc. doesn’t really help decrease the
behv. It’ll just irritate them and make them want to stay away from you, and find other
ways to get you to not know what they’v e done. i.e. by lying to them.
• Constantly punishing someone, where it feel