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Chapter 6&7


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Amanda Uliaszek

Chapter 6 Extinction I. What is Operant Extinction? -- Extinction usually has two meanings: 1) A procedure or condition in which a previously reinforced response no longer receives reinforcement 2) A process whereby the rate and force in performing the no-longer-reinforced response decrease. -- Extinction can occur as a haphazard condition in everyday life or as a careful and deliberate procedure in an intervention. -- Extinction can apply to behaviours that have received either positive or negative reinforcement. 1) Extinction for positive reinforcement ->Making sure the rewards are no longer provided E.g.: Bob and the digital reversals 2) Extinction for negative reinforcement ->Preventing the individual from escaping or avoiding the unpleasant situation. II. The Process and Characteristics of Extinction Two usual problems of the extinction:  Extinction burst: when reinforcement fails to occur, the response often increases temporarily in its frequency and magnitude -> result from frustration  Aggression: Extinction often increases the target person’s aggression and other emotional behaviours Two ways to reduce the two problems above:  Competing response: an action that is incompatible or interferes with performance of target behaviour.  Alternative behaviour: take the place of the target behaviour as a desirable act, but the two actions aren’t necessarily incompatible and could occur together. Gradual decline & reappearance of the behaviour 1) The behaviour tends to decline gradually or irregularly rather than immediately and smoothly 2) An extinguished behaviour can reappear temporarily, even though reinforcement is not given for the behaviour. Can occur in more than one way:  Spontaneous recovery: 1. Placing another behaviour on extinction 2. The antecedents that were present with the behaviour had been reinforced in the past are present again.  Renewal: the main factor is the context in which conditioning and extinction occur.  Reinstatement: the main factor leading to the reappearance of the extinguished behaviour is that, without performing the behaviour III. What Factors Affect Extinction Effectiveness?  When any of these conditions is less than ideal in an extinction program, the behaviour will show more resistance to extinction – or take longer to extinguish  Knowing & controlling all relevant reinforcers To conduct extinction very effectively, we must know that all of the reinforcers are that maintain the behaviour and then stop them all.  Past pattern of reinforcement ·Continuous reinforcement vs. Intermittent reinforcement ·In general, a behaviour received intermittent reinforcement show more resistance to extinction ·The reinforcement history of a behaviour can also affect its resistance to extinction in two other ways: 1) The more times the behaviour was reinforced in the past, the longer it is likely to take to become extinguished 2) The greater the reward value of the reinforcers the behaviour produced in the past, the longer it is likely to be extinguished  Combining extinction with reinforcing other actions Another benefit to reinforcing other actions while extinguishing a target behavior: we can increase the effectiveness of the extinction procedure.  Instruction in the new contingencies People’s behaviour often extinguishes faster when they are told their responses will no longer be reinforced than when reinforcement simply ceases to appear. E.g.: teacher asks the students to answer questions in a specific time Chapter 7 Punishment I. Defining punishment -- Punishment is a process whereby a consequence of a behavior suppresses that behaviour, decreasing its frequency, duration or magnitude. -- If we are going to define punishers as “consequences people find unpleasant”, we must be sure to assess the unpleasantness from the viewpoint of the person who will receive these consequences, not our point of view -> Two other reasons: 1) If the consequences were applied poorly, their effects may have been weakened. 2) Scolding & spanking may be punishers for Brain, but the reinforcement he gets from making noise may be much stronger than the punishment being applied. -- Natural and programmed punishment Natural punishers are consequences that decrease a behavior, happen spontaneously as a normal part of everyday life, and are not planned and given systematically to affect the behaviour Programmed punishers are consequences that are planned and are used systematically with the goal of decreasing a behavior -- Positive and negative punishment Positive punishment: an aversive stimulus or condition is added as a consequence of the behaviour Negative punishment: a stimulus or condition the person already has at the time the behavior occurs is subtracted as a consequence of performing the behaviour -- Unconditioned and conditioned punishment Unconditioned punishers: typically decrease behaviour on which they are contingent even though they were not learned to function that way. Conditioned punishers are stimuli that did not have the ability to suppress behaviour until they developed this function as a result of learning. II. Types of punishing events 1) Physically aversive stimuli  Events that cause physical pain, discomfort, or other unpleasant sensations – mainl
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