Skinner's Theory Of Operant Conditioning

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Burrhus Frederic Skinner is one of the most well- known psychologists. His theory of operant conditioning is probably an influential and significant theory in behaviorism and the learning approaches to personality. The following we will take a closer look and evaluate the theory.

Brief Ideas on Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning
Operant conditioning is a method of modifying behaviours through consequences for responding and that consequence teaches us to either repeat the desired behaviours or reduce the occurrence of undesired behaviours (Skinner, 1938). Skinner (1953) stated that, “all we need to know in order to describe and explain behavior is this: actions followed by good outcomes are likely to recur, and actions followed by bad
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It is a set of therapies and techniques based on operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938, 1953). The main principle is changing environmental events that are related to the behavior of a person. For example, reinforcing desired behaviors and punishing undesired ones. Methods of behavior modification include token economy and behavior shaping
Also, in everyday life, applications of operant conditioning are everywhere. Parents who can reinforce their children’s appropriate behaviors and punish inappropriate ones at home. In the classroom, teachers reinforce good performance and behaviors with rewards or privileges, diminish undesired behaviors with punishment. Companies and employers have used lotteries to improve attendance and productivity of their employees.
Last but not least, it stimulates the thinking of other theorists or psychologist. The theory brings out a new area and motivates others to provide or find alternative approaches to the study of personality and psychology, not limited to the old and conventional approaches.

Opinions and
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Artificial reinforcers often have the effect of reducing the individual’s feeling of self-determination; and this is likely to reduce motivation to engage in similar activities in the future (Glasser, 1990). However, as teacher, we always encourage students to assimilate and internalize, and become self- motivated to learn and behave. We hope that reinforcement and punishment can provide a pathway for them to develop approved behavior. Minimizing the intrinsic motivation is something that teachers do not want to see.
Moreover, Skinner’s theory may not suitable for every learning environment. It is because these techniques are more associated to direct instruction but not constructivist instruction or experimental learning. In the latter learning environment, students would have freedom to explore and experience, they learn by their active participation, and they would not get reinforcements (or punishments) for doing what teachers want (or do not want) them to do. Some argue that, students learn more when they experience and learn by
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