Operant Conditioning Essay

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A behavioural psychologist believes that human behaviours can be explained and modified in terms of conditioning, without considering thoughts or feelings. Behaviourists emphasise the relationship between the environment and behaviour. This is called focus on learning, which is the changes in behaviour that can happen because of an experience. There are two main concepts, the stimulus which is the event or object that is measurable and may affect behaviour, and the response, which is the behaviour itself. For example, a child could be abused and could grow up to think that violence is a good behaviour and could be abusive to their family.
There are also two types of conditioning, classical and operant. In the case of classical
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It is learning through reinforcement or punishment. Punishment refers to the circumstance whereby a behaviour is followed by a consequence that is undesirable or unpleasant for the organism. If a behaviour is followed by a desired consequence that then the behaviour is more likely to occur again in the future. This is explained through skinners rats. He developed a special cage called a `skinner box’ in order to investigate operant conditioning in rats. The rat moves around the cage and accidently pulls a lever which will produce pellets of food for the rat. However, if they travel around the cage there is a certain spot which will electrocute the rat and he won’t go to that spot again. This is called negative reinforcement. This is an aversive stimulus and when it follows a response it serves to decrease the response. Now positive reinforcement is a stimulus which when follows a response it serves to increase the response. Reinforcement means what the word implies. Reinforcement can make a behaviour stronger conditioning can happen without intending it. This could be called behaviour modification which is someone trying to shape behaviour through reinforcement. For effective learning, the reinforce must immediately follow the response. Punishment which is delayed will be ineffective. You must make sure that the punishment is suitable and does not just give them attention as that’s what the learner would want. This is behaviour controlled by rewards and punishments in the individual’s
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