Operant Conditioning Paper
Theorist B.F. Skinner was the mind behind the introduction of operant conditioning to the psychology field. With operant conditioning, he demonstrated reinforcement as a means to control behavioral potential. When a behavior preempts the introduction of reinforcement, and presence of the reinforcement stimulates the reoccurrence of the behavioral response, it is operant conditioning, a theory that has influenced psychology as it is known today a great deal (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Operant conditioning relies on an interaction with the environment. Unlike reflexes, how such behavior is stimulated seems random, and the consequences of the behavior become the shaper (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). The primary concern of operant conditioning is how often the response occurs, and the strength of the response (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). If a behavior is erratic upon reinforcement, then the conditioning can be considered ineffective, and reinforcement contingencies may be flawed.
Positive and Negative Reinforcement
Depending on whether positive or negative reinforcement occurs, behavioral results conform to the introduction or eradication of a stimulating factor. Both types of reinforcement are prompted by an organism exhibiting a response first, and function by increasing a behavioral outcome (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). Therefore, they both control the drive of the organism. Similarity is also present in the fact neither the concept of positive nor negative refers to reward or punishment for behaviors (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). The terms simply refer to the drive to avoid stimuli or that to obtain it. In this way, the types of reinforcement differ. Unlike positive reinforcement, which is classified by stimuli that are desirable, negative is governed by a stimulus naturally harmful, such as excessive heat (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009).
The Efficiency of Positive Reinforcement