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PSY260H1 (42)

Instrumental Conditioning

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Martin Ralph

Instrumental ConditioningThis is the process by which organisms learn to make responses in order to obtain or avoid certain consequences Form of associative learning The consequences are a direct result of the organism behaviour unlike in classical conditioning it occurs no matter the response the organism makes or not Behavioural ProcessesThrondike concluded that when an animals response was followed by a satisfying consequence then the probability of that response increased Alternatively if a response was followed by an unsatisfying consequence then the probability of that response occurring again decreased This is known as Thorndikes law of effectClassical versus Instrumental conditioningIn classical animals receive a consequence whether or not they have learned the conditioned response In instrumental the consequence occurs only if the animal performs the response If the consequence occurs regardless of responding then the conditioning is classic If the consequence is contingent on a response then it is instrumental Share the fact that they have a negatively accelerated learning curve and a tendency for learned responses to extinguish if no longer paired with a consequence FreeOperant LearningBF Skinner looked at the work of Pavlov and Thorndike and liked Thorndikes much better but thought it needed improvement Thorndikes work involved discrete trials beginning and end of each experiment was defined In the skinner box however the animal could respond as often or as seldom as it chose Freeoperant Paradigm the animal could operate the apparatus freely and whenever it chose Operant conditioning is only one subclass of instrumental conditioning however Do not mix the two up Reinforcement process of providing consequences for a behaviour that increase the probability of that behaviourPunishment process of providing consequences for a behaviour that decrease the probability of that behaviour Cumulative recorder Components of learned associationStimuliResponseConsequenceInstrumental conditioning is a three way association between these three
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