Conditioning In Psychology

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Conditioning is a theory used in behavioural psychology in which a reaction (reflex) to a particular stimulus can be reshaped through learning. The use of conditioning firstly began through studying animals, Skinner is an example of a psychologist who studied conditioning in rats. Skinner used behaviour shaping to obtain a desired response. In this case, it was for the rat to press a lever in the Skinner box which would then result in the release of a reward (food pellet) which is a type of positive reinforcement. When the rat realises that the lever is associated with receiving a food pellet, the likelihood of the rat pressing the leaver gradually increases. Along with positive reinforcement there is negative reinforcement, punishment, and…show more content…
He also believed that using positive reinforcement to change human behaviour could change the world. As described by Toates (2012) for example, in school’s teachers may use punishment to stop undesirable behaviour from children, such as, telling the child off for being disruptive in class. Skinner believed that using positive reinforcement instead of punishment, such as praising the child for good behaviour could increase desirable behaviour, as the praise works as a type of reward. Just like the study on rats, human’s behaviour can be controlled through consequence. The rat received a food pellet which increased the desired behaviour and the child receives praise which increases desired…show more content…
Skinner believed that human and non-human animal’s behaviour is determined by past events, which contributes to future behaviour. The issue with determinism is that it rejects free will and the idea that humans are able to make free decisions and take responsibility for their own actions. (Toates, 2012) Biology such as things like thoughts, feelings, intentions and the brain are not taken into account. Rather, there is more emphasises towards the observation of behaviour and past experiences, without acknowledging mental events. Secondly, there are some differences between humans and non-human animals. Non-human animals are flexible in their behaviour and make decisions more quickly; also, humans and non-human animals are from two completely different cultures. Humans speak a unique language and have a complex culture; they’re aware of their own behaviour and can make conscious decisions. So, to conclude this, human behaviour might react differently to conditioning compared with non-human animals. This is simply because of internal factors, biology and how humans have been programmed to be due to culture and
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