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The Basic Concept Behind Operant Conditioning - Essay Example

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The paper describes the basic concept behind operant conditioning. The type of stimulus associated with a behaviour plays a considerable role in making a person decide whether he or she should exhibit that behaviour or not. The likelihood of showing a specific behaviour increases if a positive stimulus is associated with that behaviour…
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The Basic Concept Behind Operant Conditioning
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Download file to see previous pages A famous psychologist, B.F. Skinner, introduced the concept of operant conditioning in the 20th century. This concept is used in daily life activities as well as in psychology based experiments to bring changes in behaviours. Cherry (n.d.) states, “Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behaviour and a consequence for that behaviour”. The concept is that if the consequence of behaviour is likely to be negative, it should be avoided. On the other hand, the behaviour with a positive consequence should be adopted. Two of the main components of operant conditioning include reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement means to increase the likelihood of the occurrence of behaviour using positive or negative reinforcers. “Positive reinforcers are favourable events or outcomes that are presented after the behaviour” (Cherry, n.d.). Such events or rewards motivate a person and the chances of repetition of the behaviour increase. For example, if a manager gives a bonus to an employee for being successful in the achievement of some specific goals, it will motivate the employee and he/she will try to show the same performance again in order to be rewarded again. Negative reinforcers are another type of reinforcement, which strengthen a response by removing the unfavourable events associated with the behaviour. “In negative reinforcement, something unpleasant is taken away” (Smith, n.d.). For example, eliminating the risk of failure encourages a person to start a new business. One thing, which is common in both types of reinforcements, is that both forms increase the likelihood of the occurrence of behaviours. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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