Psy_-_Operant_Cond_-_Chap_5 - Operant conditioning is the...

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Operant conditioning is the modification of behavior brought about over time by the consequences of said behavior. Operant conditioning is distinguished from Pavlovian conditioning in that operant conditioning deals with voluntary behavior explained by its consequences, while Pavlovian conditioning deals with involuntary behavior triggered by its antecedents . Operant conditioning, sometimes called instrumental conditioning or instrumental learning , was first extensively studied by Edward L. Thorndike (1874-1949), who observed the behavior of cats trying to escape from home-made puzzle boxes. When first constrained in the boxes, the cats took a long time to escape. With experience, ineffective responses occurred less frequently and successful responses occurred more frequently, enabling the cats to escape in less time over successive trials. In his Law of Effect , Thorndike theorized that successful responses, those producing satisfying consequences, were "stamped in" by the experience and thus occurred more frequently. Unsuccessful responses, those producing
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This note was uploaded on 08/10/2011 for the course CHEM 160:161 taught by Professor Siegel during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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