Notes on Skinners behavioural theory

Last Updated: 03 Aug 2020
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Operant condition is the condition of responses Parents have long known that children respond to a system of rewards and punishments. While to say that this is a simplification of the theories of famed American behaviourist B. F. Skinner would be an understatement, it is accurately descriptive of the most basic aspect of his beliefs. Operant behaviour and operant conditioning, Skinner's most widely acclaimed work, is based on a system of both positive and negative reinforcement.

While it is commonly known that behaviour is affected by its consequences, Skinner's heory of operant conditioning further states that the process does not require repeated efforts, but is instead an immediate reaction to a familiar stimulus. Positive Reinforcement - Beginnings of the Rat & Food Experiment In an experiment with a rat using food as a reward: The rat was placed in a box Over the course of a few days, food was occasionally delivered through an automatic dispenser Before long, the rat approached the food tray as soon as the sound of the dispenser was heard, clearly anticipating the arrival of more food

The Rat Experiment and Negative Reinforcement Skinner again experimented with rats to show how negative reinforcement can also strengthen behaviour. Skinner placed the rat inside the box and a sent electric current into the box, as the rat moved around the box it would knock the lever by accident and the electric current would stop. The rats soon learned that when they were placed in the box to go straight to the lever to turn off the electric current. Knowing they could escape the electric current caused the rats to repeatedly go to the lever.

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Not only were the rats taught to stop the electric current but also to avoid it completely. The foundations of child development - John Oates Chapter 1 pt3 Behaviorism has had a great impact on education, partly because it stresses the importance of the external world and development, and there for gives grounds for believing that children's learning and behavior can be hugely influenced by their teachers' use ot the right methods . Behaviorist theories see human beings as machines, reacting in a predictable way to stimulation from outside them. s evelopment progresses people accumulate knowledge but there is no major change in the structure of their minds. - How Does All This Relate to Children? One of the aspects important to human behaviour, though, is the feelings associated with behaviour that is controlled by conditioning. When previous behaviours have been rewarded, children are likely to repeat those behaviours happily and willingly, feeling that they are doing what they 'want' to be doing.

If, on the other hand, children choose behaviours in order to avoid a repeat of negative reinforcement, they ay behave appropriately, but will be inclined to feel that their freedoms are being suppressed. In reality, the actual freedom still exists, of course. Children, like the rest of us, are free to behave in any manner that they choose, as long as they are willing to accept the consequences of their actions. Link PavloVs Dog - Stimulus conditioning Pavlov showed the existence of the unconditioned response by presenting a dog with a bowl of food and the measuring its salivary secretions.

However, when Pavlov iscovered that any object or event which the dogs learnt to associate with food (such as the lab assistant) would trigger the same response, he realized that he had made an important scientific discovery, and he devoted the rest of his career to studying this type of learning. In his experiment, Pavlov used a bell as his neutral stimulus. Whenever he gave food to his dogs, he also rang a bell. After a number of repeats of this procedure, he tried the bell on its own. As you might expect the bell now, on its own, caused an increase in salivation.

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