Operant Conditioning And Gender Analysis

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The development of gender in boys and girls is influenced by a number of things; one of these being through the act of learning. Learning is defined as a change in behavior or knowledge that is received from experience, study, or from being taught (Spielman, 2014). Boys and girls are certain to reach life experiences in which they must be taught the appropriate ways for their own gender. One way in which gender development can be taught is through operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning is a type of associative learning that involves voluntary or chosen behaviors (L. Ramirez, personal communication, October 5, 2016). By this theory, we are taught to connect a behavior and its consequence. As seen from the law of effect principle, behaviors …show more content…

Ramirez, personal communication, October 5, 2016). An example of positive reinforcement that exhibits gender development is, a boy plays well in his football game and is then rewarded a new football (Harvey, C). Likewise, a girl cleans the house and is rewarded with new clothes. In these two situations, a desirable reward is given to the children in hopes that it will encourage the behavior to be repeated again. In negative reinforcement, behavior is increased by taking away something bad or undesired (L. Ramirez, personal communication, October 5, 2016). Such as if a girl cooks for her family, she will not have to do laundry after. Here, the girl completed her chore and is rewarded by having another chore taken away. These positive and negative reinforcements encourage gender-stereotyped behavior in which girls grow up being rewarded for doing lady-like roles and boys are rewarded for being active and playing sports (Harvey, C). The main idea of reinforcements is to reward for a behavior being done so it is repeated later on, whereas punishments are the …show more content…

These two punishments are ways to decrease behavior that is undesired. Positive punishment is when behavior is decreased by adding something bad (L. Ramirez, personal communication, October 5, 2016). A girl may indicate rough and boy-like behavior, such as fighting or playing football and be grounded as punishment. On the other hand, a boy may play with a baby doll and be grounded because he was expressing girl-like actions. In these examples, because the boy and girl were reversing typical gender roles, they were given the punishment of being grounded to prevent them from playing like the opposite gender in the future. Negative punishment is when behavior decreases by taking away something good (L. Ramirez, personal communication, October 5, 2016). For example, a girl fails to do the dishes and is punished by not being able to go shopping the next weekend or in a boy’s case, he does not cut the grass so his favorite hunting rifle is taken away. The girl and boy both failed to complete their chores, therefore something valuable to them was taken away to keep the incompletion from happening later

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