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21-operant conditioning.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 1000
Professor
Benjamin Giguere

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Description
OPERANT CONDITIONING Learning: the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviours Associative learning: learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli (as in classical conditioning) or a response and its consequences (operant conditioning)  Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are both forms of associative learning  Classical conditioning forms associations between stimuli (a conditioned stimulus, and the unconditioned stimulus, it signals). It also involves respondent behaviour-actions that are automatic responses to stimulus (such as salivating in response to meat powder, and later in response to a tone).  In operant conditioning, organisms associate their own actions with consequences. Actions followed by reinforcers increase; those followed by punishers often decrease. Behaviour that operates on the environment to produce rewarding or punishing stimuli is called operant behaviour Skinner’s Experiments  B.F. Skinner behaviourist that elaborated on Edward L. Thorndike’s law of effect  Law of effect: behaviours followed by favourable consequences become more likely, and that behaviours followed by unfavourable consequences become less likely.  Skinner designed an operant chamber or a Skinner box  Operant chamber: a chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcers; attached devices record the animal’s rate of bar pressing or key pecking  Reinforcement: any event that strengthens a preceding response  Reinforcement in humans can be praise, attention, or a paycheck Shaping Behaviour  Wanted to condition hungry rat to press a bar  Tease out action with shaping rat’s actions toward the desired behaviour  First observe behaviour  Give it more food as it reaches closer to the bar, and finally when it touches the bar  Make rewards contingent on desired behaviours to shape complex behaviours  Shaping helps understand differences organisms perceive (if they react to one stimulus and not the other then we know they can perceive the difference) Types of Reinforcements  Positive reinforcement: increasing behaviours by presenting positive reinforcers. A positive reinforcer is any 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 it. Ways to increase behaviour Operant Conditioning Term Description Examples Positive Reinforcement Add a desirable stimulus Pet a dog that comes when you call it; pay the person who paints your house Negative reinforcement Remove an aversive stimulus Take painkillers to remove pain; fasten seat belt to end loud beeping. OPERANT CONDITIONING Primary and Conditioned Reinforcers  Primary reinforcers: an innately reinforcing stimulus, such as one that satisfies a biological need  Conditioned reinforcers: a stimulus that gains it reinforcing power through its association with a primary reinforcer; also known as a secondary reinforcer  If
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