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Chemistry LibreTexts

Reinforcement

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    187385
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    Operant Conditioning
     

    Most learning does not occur in a classical stimulus-response sequence; it is usually the result of a voluntary action taken by the learner. This type of learning is called
    operant conditioning.

    Operant conditioning is attributed to a psychologist named
    B.F. Skinner. Skinner is also known for his operant box experiment.

    • Operant Conditioning Conditioning that results from actions and consequences resulted from the actions.
    • B.F. Skinner A psychologist best known for his work with operant conditioning.
    • Operant Box: A chamber (also called the Skinner box) containing a bar that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer with attached devices to record the animal’ s rate of bar pressing.

    In classical conditioning, there is an automatic response trained with a neutral stimulus whereas operant conditioning relies upon the organism (person, animal, etc) who is involved.

    Here is an example of classical conditioning.

    You are home walking from your room to the kitchen when your mom sneaks up behind you and shoves a strawberry (which you normally like) into your mouth while talking into your ear about something that makes you nauseous. After running into your mom like this several times, you will begin to dislike strawberries. You have been classically conditioned to not like strawberries as they are paired with an unpleasant thought.

    Here is an example of operant conditioning.

    You usually write your first name only on school papers. Your teacher now requires everyone to print their first and last name on papers or she will not grade them. After getting no grade on a paper you learn to write your full name. You have been operantly conditioned to write your full name.