ErnoC_M3_A2 - Running head OPERANT CONDITIONING AND...

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Running head: OPERANT CONDITIONING AND SUPERSTITIONS 1 Cheryl Erno Learning and Behavior Argosy University
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OPERANT CONDITIONING AND SUPERSTITIONS 2 Operant Conditioning and Superstitions “Operant conditioning is unlike classical conditioning, which is learned by association, operant conditioning is learned by consequences.” (AUO, 2016). Operant conditioning is different than classical conditioning because classical conditions a person’s reflexes and operant conditioning work by modifying voluntary behaviors. “There are three key terms that a person must understand in the process of operant conditioning.” (AUO, 2016). 1. Reinforcement, which any consequence that leads the person to have an increase in the frequency that they wear the same shirt to a game because the first time he/she wore the shirt his/her team won, so now they wear the shirt to every game. This is considered a frequency in his/her behavior. 2. Punishment, which is when the person is being punished for his/her behavior from wearing the same shirt to every game, so this will decrease in the frequency of his/her behavior. 3. Extinction, which is when the behavior diminishes and becomes extinct over time with little to no consequence in response to wearing the shirt to a game. Eventually, the person forgets about the shirt altogether and the reason why they wore the shirt. B.F. Skinner built on Thorndike’s Law of Effect, by developing the theory of operant conditioning. Skinner’s views of classical conditioning were that it was too simplistic to be a complete picture of the human behavior because of the complexity of the human behavior. Skinner also believed that the person needs to understand behavior and the way to do this is to look at the cause and action of such behavior. “As part of his discovery and theory building, he designed a research tool called the Skinner box in order to train various animals using the
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OPERANT CONDITIONING AND SUPERSTITIONS 3 principles of operant conditioning” (AUO, 2016). Operant conditioning uses reinforcement, punishment, positive rewards, and negative rewards. When the person does the right thing, they
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