Operant Conditioning

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology
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Operant Conditioning

Complex Learning  Why do we learn new behaviors?  Classical conditioning only deals with reflex responses that we already possess.  Most of our behaviors are voluntary. Volitional. Stimulated by something in our environment.

Operant Conditioning  Defined as - the form of learning concerned with changes in emitted responses as a function of their consequences.

Origins of Operant Conditioning  Edward Thorndike  Instrumental Conditioning  “Law of Effect”  

Satisfying outcome Unsatisfactory outcome

Outcomes of Thorndike’s Work How Long - the length it declined ofAs time it tooklearning the cat to was taking escape fromplace. the puzzle This change in box. performance represented a change in behavior from experience.


Question  In Thorndike’s terms, what sort of things give you satisfaction? What things produce dissatisfaction? Why?

Edward Thorndike  His research provided a foundation for the study of “non-reflexive” learning.  He drew a connection between action and its outcomes.

B. F. Skinner  Skinner coined the term “operant”.  Disagreed with the “soft” concepts of Thorndike’s “satisfying” and “unsatisfactory” outcome(s)

B. F. Skinner  Operant Conditioning replaced Thorndike’s term “instrumental learning”  Emitted behavior is now called “operant responses”  Classical conditioning is now called ‘respondent conditioning. The Skinner Box or “autoenvironmental chamber”

Skinner Box in Action

Zack Florin '99 using a Skinner box to shape a rat's behavior

Reinforcment  Primary reinforcers - food, water, shelter. Those innate biological needs.  Secondary reinforcers (Conditioned reinforcers) - something that will provide a primary reinforcer. (money, poker chips etc.)

Primary vs. Secondary  Which of the following are secondary reinforcers:     

quarters spilling from a slot machine, a winner’s blue ribbon, a piece of candy, an A on an exam, frequent-flyer miles.

Reinforcement  Negative Reinforcer - an aversive stimulus which serves to decrease the probability of the response in the future.  Positive Reinforcer - a stimulus which when applied increases the probability of the response in the future.

Contingencies of Reinforcement  According to Skinner the relationship between a response and a reinforcer is a contingency.  One type of contingency is “reinforcement”

Desired change in behavior Type of reinforcer

Increases response

Decrease response

Positive reinforcer





Negative reinforcer

(escape, avoidance)

(withholding positive reinforcer)

Shaping  Some learning does not occur in a single event.  A series of successive steps leads to a learned behavior.  Playing the piano, swimming etc.

Applying the Principles  When asked choose the best alternative and explain why. 

You want your 2-year-old to ask for water with a word instead of a grunt. Should you give him water when he says “wa-wa” or wait until his pronunciation improves.

Applying the Principles  When asked choose the best alternative and explain why. 

Your roommate keeps interrupting your studying even though you have asked her/him to stop. Should you ignore her/him completely or occasionally respond for the sake of good manners?.

Applying the Principles  When asked choose the best alternative and explain why. 

Your father, who rarely writes to you, has finally sent a letter. Should you reply quickly or wait a while so he will know how it feels to be ignored?.

Extinction  What happens when the reinforcement stops.  Extinction - in operant conditioning, a drop I responding when reinforcement is discontinued.

Schedules of Reinforcement  Continuous reinforcement - every response is followed by a reinforcer. (FR1 schedule)  Partial reinforcement - a contingency of reinforcement in which every response does not get a reinforcer.

Fixed Interval Schedule  Referred to as FI x reinforcement contingency defined by the amount of time that must pass since the previous reinforcer.  Based on time.  Example: pay checks

Fixed Ratio Schedule  Referred to as FR x reinforcement contingency defined by the number of responses the organism must make in order to get a reinforcer.  Example: piece work.

Variable Interval Schedule  Referred to as VI x - a reinforcement contingency defined by the average time interval which must elapse since the last reinforcer.  Example: Quality Control

Variable Ratio Schedule  Referred to as VR x - a reinforcement contingency defined in terms of the average number of responses required to receive a reinforcer.  Example: Slot Machine

Non-Contingent Reinforcement  Random “reinforcement”  Development of what Skinner called ‘superstition’ in the pigeon.

Applying Conditioning  We must always keep in mind that all this is done to match the goals of psychology.  Behavior Modification.  Mary Cover Jones - the mother of behavior therapy Aversive Positive  Controls

Punishment  Most used and most misunderstood  Occurs after the ‘offense’ has taken place.  Requires “contiguity”  Encourages avoidance behaviors.

Negative Reinforcement

Autonomic Conditioning  Neal Miller and Leo DiCara  ‘proprioceptive feedback

Biological Constraints  Some unanswered questions: 

 

Equipotentiality premise Ethology Species-specific behavior Critical period Preparedness

• The The premise that principles Behaviors which are A study period of during the behavior of A concept developed by ofdevelopment conditioning willmembers apply characteristic of all animals in their natural where there Martin Seligman to toare any response and any of a particular species. environment. optimal periods for describe how species. (instincts) learning. physiological structure influences the occurrence of behavior

Biological Constraints Degree of biological preparedness Prepared Species-specific behavior


Bait Shyness

Classical and operant conditioning

Contraprepared Unlearnable Associations

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