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Chapter 6

PSYB45H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Reinforcement, Operant Conditioning, Weaning


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Jessica Dere
Chapter
6

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Chapter 6 – Decreasing A Behaviour w/ Operant Conditioning (PSYB45)
Operant Conditioning
Operant extinction: a) if an individual, in a given situation , emits a previously
reinforced behaviour and that behavior is not followed by a reinforcer, b) then behaviour
is less likely to happen again when encountering a similar situation
Ex) when someone smiles at a stranger in the subway and get a smile back, 2nd
time do same thing but dunt get smile back, 3rd time person doesn’t smile at a
stranger – extinction
We are unaware of how frequently we are influenced by operant extinction. Look at table
6.1
It is desirable to stop a behavior that doesn’t pay off, but if we persist useless behavior,
we wouldn’t exists as species
Punisher – yelling or something that’s harsh to stop a behaviour (yellin at child for
swearing)
Response-cost punishment – taking away something when bad behaviour is done to
decrease behaviour (taking away $0.25 when swearing)
Forgetting can also decrease behaviour (its weakened as a function of time following its
last occurance)
Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Operant Extinction
1) Control of Reinforcers for the Behavior That is To Be Decreased
Eliminating reinforcers following a behaviour has been a huge treatment, especially in
bullying (peer ignoring the bully when getting bullied because they will feel like they are
talking to a wall or surrounded by walls)
Ross and Horner developed& tested a program that taught teachers to teach elementary
grade students to withhold reinforcement following disrespectful behavior
Teachers then said to students who were disrespected a) recognize the behaviour b) say
stop while holding the hand gesture c) walk away
Students who saw the behaviour said to do same thing but c) help victim walk away
This program was called “Positive Behavior Support”
Reinforcers presented by other people or by the physical environment can undo your
good efforts at applying operant extinction
Its hard to convince others if not familiar w/ the principles of positive reinforcement and
extinction
It’s important during the application of extinction to ensure that the reinforcers that you
are withholding are the ones that were actually maintaining the undesirable behavior (if
not, it would not meet extinction and behavior wont decrease)
2. Combining Extinction w/ Positive Reinforcement for an Alternative Behavior
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