Operant conditioning is based on the premise that behavior can be formed and even modified with the aid of consequences. The main defining difference between operant conditioning and the classical or Pavlovian conditioning is the fact that it is concerned with change or development of voluntary behavior (Kirsch, & Lynn, 2004). It is important to note that under operant conditioning the main variable of concern is the environment that is acted upon and is affected by given variables (Dalla, & Shors, 2009).
The consequences of the operant therefore play an important role in ensuring that a behavior that has been developed or modified is maintained. Under operant conditioning reinforcement and punishment are the key factors that determine the direction that behavior will be redirected to. Negative Vs Positive Reinforcement a) Similarities
The core similarity between positive and negative reinforcement is that they are all aimed at ensuring high frequency of target behavior The use of a stimulus that is introduced into or removed from the environment under consideration is another factor that is shared by the two forms of reinforcement (Wenger, Schmidt, & Davisson, 2004). It is important note that the key goal in both forms of reinforcements is to increase the frequency of the expected or observed behavior b) Contrast The key difference between the two modes of reinforcement is the type of stimulus used.
In positive reinforcement the stimulus used is favorable and negative reinforcement employs an aversive stimulus (Myers, 2004). Another notable difference is that in most cases negative reinforcement involves removal of a stimulus whereas positive reinforcement involves its introduction. Most Effective Reinforcement Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement. This choice is guided by the fact that reinforcements though included in the operant conditioning set up may in fact lead to forced adoption.
It is important to note that the key goal in operant conditioning is to impact on the environment and not the organism being observed (Myers, 2004). Thus negative reinforcement which is in most cases included in the set up when behavior is being observed and removed once frequency has been heightened may lead to wrong results by impacting on the organism. On the other hand, positive reinforcement is not aimed at avoidance of a negative effect and therefore the behavior observed is likely to be of high level of accuracy.
a two year old who is continually crying with minimal provocation. Crying is behavior and provocation is a stimulus that impacts on this behavior The main aim in this scenario is to reduce the frequency of his or her outbursts with the introduction of a stimulus and a form of reinforcement. The stimulus under this consideration is to continually tell the child that crying is bad and may attract dangerous animals into their home.
This may impact on the child perception of crying by affecting his sphere of thought or more accurately the environment. A reinforcement may also be required to increase the frequency with which a child responds positively (does not cry with minimal provocation). Reinforcement Schedule Candies are any child’s favorite and will therefore play an important role in reinforcing behavior It is important to note that candies are not within the environment when a child is provoked and therefore do not impact on behavior rather it is introduced later.
After the first lecture, the child is presented with a candy when he resists crying after being slightly provoked. This cycle is continued with no increase or decrease in the number of candies that the child is presented with. It is important to note that the form of reinforcement used under this scenario is positive due to the age of the subject and ethical concerns. Reference Dalla, C. , & Shors, T. J. (2009).
Sex differences in learning processes of classical and operant conditioning. Physiology & Behavior, 97(2), 229-238. Kirsch, I. , & Lynn, S. J. (2004). The role of cognition in classical and operant conditioning. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60(4), 369-392. Myers, D. G. (2004). Exploring Psychology. London: Worth Publishers. Wenger, G. R. , Schmidt, C. , & Davisson, M. T. (2004). Operant Conditioning in the Ts65Dn Mouse: Learning. Behavior Genetics, 34(1), 105-119.
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