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B.F.

Skinn
er
OPERANT
CONDITIONING

B.F.
Skinner
Burrhus
Frederic
Skinner

March 20, 1904


August 18, 1990
It is a mistake to
suppose that the
whole issue is how
to free man. The
issue is to improve
the way in which
he is controlled.

B.F. Skinner
Americanpsychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor,
andsocial philosopher
Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology atHarvard
University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974
consideredfree willan illusion and human action
dependent on consequences of previous actions
If the consequences are bad, there is a high chance
that the action will not be repeated; if the
consequences are good, however, the actions that
led to it will become more probable
Principle of reinforcement

Operant Conditioning

Operant
Conditioning
sometimes referred to asinstrumental
conditioning
method of learning that occurs through
rewards and punishments for behavior
Through operant conditioning, an
association is made between a
behavior and a consequence for that
behavior.

Types of Behaviors
Respondent behaviors
occur automatically and reflexively, such
as pulling your hand back from a hot
stove or jerking your leg when the doctor
taps on your knee

Operant behavior

under our conscious control.


Some may occur spontaneously and
others purposely, but it is the
consequences of these actions that then
influence whether or not they occur again
in the future.

Operant
behavior
"active behavior
that operates upon
the environment to
generate
consequences"
(1953)

Operant
Skinner was more interested in how
Conditioning

theconsequencesof people's actions


influenced their behavior

Operant conditioning relies on a fairly


simple premise -actions that are
followed by reinforcement will be
strengthened and more likely to
occur again in the future.

Components of
Operant Conditioning
Reinforceme
nt

any event that strengthens or increases the


behavior it follows.

Positive
reinforcers

favorable events or outcomes that are


presented after the behavior
behavior is strengthened by the addition of
something, such as praise or a direct
reward.

Negative
reinforcers

removal of an unfavorable events or


outcomes after the display of a behavior
response is strengthened by the removal of
something considered unpleasant

Components of
Operant Conditioning
Punishme
nt
Positive
punishme
nt
Negative
punishme
nt

presentation of an adverse event or


outcome that causes a decrease in the
behavior it follows
punishment by application
involves the presentation of an
unfavorable event or outcome in order
to weaken the response it follows.
punishment by removal
favorable event or outcome is removed
after a behavior occurs.

Reinforceme
nt Schedules
Skinner also found that
when and how often
behaviors were reinforced
played a role in the speed
and strength of
acquisition.

Reinforcemen
t Schedules

Continuous
reinforcement
Partial
reinforcement

Continuous
reinforceme
involves delivery of a
nt every
reinforcement
time a response
occurs.
Learning tends to
occur relatively
quickly, yet the
response rate is quite
low.
Extinction also occurs
very quickly once
reinforcement is
halted.

Fixed-ratio
schedules
Responses are reinforced only after
a specific number of responses have
occurred.
This typically leads to a fairly steady
response rate.

Fixed-interval
schedules
Reinforcement occurs only after a certain
interval of time has elapsed.
Response rates remain fairly steady and start
to increase as the reinforcement time draws
near, but slow immediately after the
reinforcement has been delivered.

Variable-ratio
schedules
involve reinforcing behavior after
a varied number of responses.
This leads to both a high
response rate and slow extinction
rates.

Variable-interval
schedules
This schedule involves delivering
reinforcement after a variable amount
of time has elapsed.
This also tends to lead to a fast
response rate and slow extinction
rate.

Exercises
A lion in a circus learns to stand
up on a chair and jump through a
hoop to receive a food treat
Positive reinforcement

Exercises
A professor has a policy of exempting
students from the final exam if they
maintain perfect attendance during
the quarter. His students attendance
increases dramatically.
Negative reinforcement

Exercises
When a child does not put his
clothes in the hamper, he has
to do ten extra minutes of
chores.
Positive punishment

Exercises
You check the coin return slot
on a vendo machine and fine a
10 peso coin. You find yourself
checking other vendo machines
over the next few days.
Positive reinforcement

Exercises
Ted gets a P5000 fine and
suspension of his driving
license for driving under the
influence of alcohol.
Negative punishment

References:
Cherry, K. A. (2005). Operant conditioning.
Retrieved from http://
psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology
/a/introopcond.htm
McLeod, S. A. (2015). Skinner - Operant
Conditioning. Retrieved from
www.simplypsychology.org/operantconditioning.html