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Skinners Theory of Operant Conditioning in Relation to the Writers Own Psychology - Research Paper Example

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The author describes Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning in relation to the writer’s own psychology. Moreover, the author attempts to compare the writer’s own psychology with that of another person. Skinner proposed that the behavior of an individual is influenced by his or her environment. …
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Download file to see previous pages When people discuss psychology, one of the most influential names spoken aloud in the conversation is B.F. Skinner’s. The psychologist had studied human behavior. Skinner believed that the behavior of a person can be modified. This change will depend on the reinforcement or punishment the person will receive. (Ouellette & Derscheid, 2011, p. 47) The reinforcement is given to make the individual continue good behavior. The punishment is given to make the individual stop bad behavior.

For example, a child cries. Somebody picks him up. This happens all the time. The child will always cry because it knows somebody will always pick him up. On the other hand, if nobody picks the child up, the child will not cry all the time. The child will learn to stop crying to get another’s attention. Skinner said there were two kinds of reinforcement and two kinds of punishments. (Ouellette & Derscheid, 2011, p. 48)

According to Skinner, good behavior can be encouraged using reinforcement. This reinforcement may be negative or positive. For example, a child gets good grades at school. The parent limits the child’s time to play video games and watch television. So, the child has more time to use for studying. This way the child will continue to get good grades. Here, reinforcement is giving the child more time to study. But, it is negative because the parent removed something – additional playtime.

Good behavior can also be encouraged by giving positive reinforcement. This is the usual way. For example, the child has good grades. The parents always give the child a reward if the child’s test scores are high. The reinforcement is the reward. It is positive because the parents give it to their child, not take it away.

The other side of operant conditioning is punishment. This is used for bad behavior.  Skinner said that if an individual behaves badly this can be changed. If an individual does something bad, a punishment will be given to him. The individual will remember to stop his or her bad behavior. Again, there are two kinds of punishments: negative and positive.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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