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Operant conditioning Learning from our behavior’s consequences.

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Presentation on theme: "Operant conditioning Learning from our behavior’s consequences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Operant conditioning Learning from our behavior’s consequences

2 Operant conditioning How the consequences of our behavior affects our future behavior Edward Thorndike started this concept by studying cats in “puzzle boxes” He graphed how their learning progressed over many trials to reveal the learning curve

3 reinforcement An event which increases the future probability of the most recent response First explored by Thorndike Taken from another perspective, if the delivery of something makes the action or behavior which preceded it more likely to occur, it is a reinforcer A reinforcer “stamps in” a response

4 Thorndike labeled this “The Law of Effect” We are more likely to repeat responses that lead to (what we view as) favorable consequences or outcomes

5 In operant conditioning, we change behavior by following a desired action/response with reinforcement And the sooner, the better We label it “operant” because the subject operates on the environment to obtain reinforcement

6 Cc contrast Some call it instrumental conditioning because the subject’s behavior is instrumental in producing the outcome Stark distinction from classical conditioning when the subject’s behavior was meaningless Operant – subject acts with muscles Classical – subject reacts through internal organs internal organs

7 b. F. skinner The “Father” of Operant Conditioning Zealous advocate Laid out theoretical framework Used only the simplest of assumptions Pioneered precise operational definitions Invented The Skinner Box Rats pressed levers, pigeons pecked Os

8 Setting the table for desired behaviors How do we get the rat to pull the lever in the first place? Shaping – establishing a new behavior by reinforcing successive approximations to it

9 Shaping ii Works with rats, pigeons, children, everyone Skinner’s lectures Pigeon’s dropping bombs? “Catch them while they’re being good” Token economies

10 Reinforcement & punishment These two events drive operant conditioning, and as a result, much of our behavior Reinforcement increases the odds that the behavior which preceded it will re- occur Punishment decreases the odds that the behavior which preceded it will reoccur

11 Reinforcement can result from removing pain or by helping us avoid it Going to the dentist Taking Tylenol/aspirin Finding an excuse not to ask her out Settling the big trial

12 SUPERSTITIONS We think that our good luck charm prevents us from screwing up Same with “pre-game” rituals

13 More punishment Punishment can result from removing pleasure “If you do that one more time. I’ll …” Fouls in a basketball game Grounded!Time-outs

14 Does reinforcement simply equal pleasure or pain equal punishment? No, reinforcement must increase the frequency of the behavior. And, punishment must decrease it.

15 Punishment iii Very hard to administer successfully Works best if it is: 1) consistent, 1) consistent, 2) immediate, 2) immediate, 3) moderate, and 3) moderate, and 4) alternatives are available. 4) alternatives are available. Does torture work? Spanking? Does torture work? Spanking?

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