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Associative Learning Operant Conditioning. Foundations Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) –Puzzle Box –Cats became more efficient with each trial –Law of.

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Presentation on theme: "Associative Learning Operant Conditioning. Foundations Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) –Puzzle Box –Cats became more efficient with each trial –Law of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Associative Learning Operant Conditioning


3 Foundations Edward Thorndike (1874-1949) –Puzzle Box –Cats became more efficient with each trial –Law of effect Rewarded behavior is likely to recur

4 B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) –Started with Thorndike’s Law of Effect –Operant Chamber (Skinner Box) –Utilized food as reinforcer for a variety of behaviors –Resulted in animal learning

5 Operant Conditioning Association of behaviors and their consequences Behavior is strengthened (repeated) if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment Operant because the behavior operates on the environment to produce a consequence.

6 Shaping Procedure in which rewards such as food gradually guide an animal’s behavior toward a desired behavior Reinforcement given for successive approximations of desired behavior –Baby steps toward desired behavior

7 Principles of Reinforcement Reinforcer: any event that strengthens the behavior that it follows. –Positive (pleasant given: food) –Negative (aversive taken away: turning off alarm) –Primary (Innate: satisfies biological need) –Secondary (Learned: money, good grades, pleasant tone of voice, all linked with primary)

8 Focus on Positive Reinforcement Examples:

9 Focus on Negative Reinforcement Examples:

10 Reinforcement Schedules Continuous –Reinforcing the desired response (behavior) whenever it occurs Learning occurs rapidly Extinction also rapid once reinforcement stops

11 Reinforcement Schedules Partial –Reinforcing response only part of the time Slower acquisition of learning Greater resistance to extinction

12 Fixed Ratio Reinforce behavior after a set number of responses –High rate of responding Example: Paid $10 for every 100 envelopes stuffed

13 Variable Ratio Reinforcement occurs after an unpredictable number of responses –High rates of responding –Resists extinction Example: gambling, giving in to child’s whining in grocery store every so often, sales commissions

14 Fixed Interval Reinforce the first response after a fixed time period has occurred. –Rapid rate of responding as anticipated time of reward approaches –Choppy pattern of responding Example: checking the cookies as the baking time is nearly done, checking for the mail as the time approaches for the delivery to occur

15 Variable Interval Reinforce the first response after varying time intervals –Slow steady responding Example: Boss walks around on a varying schedule to check on employees progress.


17 Superstitious behavior How does it happen?

18 Punishment Decreases behavior that it follows –Not forgotten, just suppressed –May increase aggressiveness “positive” applying an aversive consequence “negative” withdrawing a pleasant consequence.


20 Handouts

21 Operant Conditioning Updates and applications

22 Problems with Punishment Human studies re: physical… –Temporary suppression negatively reinforces parental punishing behavior May learn discrimination (do it when you won’t get caught) –Increased aggressiveness –Develop fear –Doesn’t guide

23 What to do? Reinforcement of desired behaviors best Reframe contingencies from threats to positive incentives

24 Cognition Cognitive Map – mental representation of one’s environment Latent Learning – learning that occurs without reinforcement or punishment

25 Cognition & Motivation Overjustification effect

26 Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation Excessive rewards undermine intrinsic motivation Rewards administered as feedback or information about performance can increase performance –Examples

27 Biological Predispositions Organisms learn associations that are naturally adaptive.

28 Behavioral Modification State your goal in measurable terms Monitor behavior Reinforce desired behavior Reduce the incentives gradually, exchanging for mental rewards

29 Applications Discuss: How can your knowledge of operant conditioning be used to enhance –Education/teaching –Parenting –Work performance Identify an example for each area


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