Running head: OPERANT CONDITIONING PAPER
Operant Conditioning Paper
University of Phoenix
Throughout time, different theories and studies have been discovered in reference to human behavior. People learn by different methods and each method has its own conditions to how the method should work. “Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence or that behavior” (Wagner, 2009). Operant conditioning has different positive and negative reinforcements as well as positive and negative punishment.
Theory of Operant Conditioning
“The theory of B. F. Skinner is based upon the idea that learning is a function of change in overt behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual’s response to events (stimuli)that occur in the environment” (Skinner, 2009). “In operant conditioning, the emphasis is on behavior and its consequences; with operant conditioning, the organism must respond in such a way as to produce the reinforcing stimulus” (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005). Operant conditioning principles apply to different situations.
Positive and Negative Reinforcement
What is positive and negative reinforcement? “A positive reinforcer, either primary or secondary, is something that, when added to the situation by a certain response, increases the probability of that response’s recurrence” (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005). A positive reinforcer is related to everyday needs such as food or water. For example, when a child does well in school, some parents give them a reward for having good grades. This is a positive reinforcement for them to continue to do well in school. “A negative reinforcer, either primary or secondary, is something that, when removed from the situation by a certain response, increases the probability of that response’s recurrence” (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005). A negative...