EDPY 401 Behavioral consequences

EDPY 401 Behavioral consequences - Behavioral Consequences...

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Behavioral Consequences I 1      A baby shakes a rattle, a child runs with a pinwheel, a scientist      operates a cyclotron—and all are reinforced by the results.       (Skinner, 1968, p. 153)        Discussed in this reading are (a) the limitations of classical conditioning, (b) the role of behavioral  consequences in bringing about behavioral change, (c) the dynamics of reinforcement, (d) issues in  implementing reinforcement, (d) the behavioral sequence, and (e) shaping behavior. Limitations of classical conditioning When John Watson discovered the Russian studies that demonstrated classical conditioning,    he was ecstatic. At that time, he believed that the research held the key to understanding all  forms of behavior . He excitedly exclaimed                   Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own                  specified world to bring them up in, and I’ll guarantee to take                  any at random and train him to become any type of specialist                  I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief. . . . .                  (Watson, 1924, p. 82).       Watson’s experiments demonstrated that emotional reactions could be trained (conditioned) to respond to neutral objects or events.   This is one type of behavioral change.   Watson and  other psychologists then tried to apply the association model (classical conditioning) to non- reflex, executed behaviors.  Examples are singing a song, writing a letter, or, in today’s world, operating a computer.  However, they were not successful.  One problem was the major limitation of  classical conditioning.   Because it requires an existing relationship between a  stimulus and a reaction, classical conditioning is restricted to two types of limited behaviors: (a) reflex reactions  (such as the knee jerk that occurs when the doctor taps the knee with a small mallet, and  (b) emotional reactions.   In other words, the only behavioral change that classical conditioning can address is causing an already-existing reaction to respond to a neutral stimulus. Classical conditioning is unable to deal with the vast repertory of executed (non-reflex) behaviors. The role of behavioral consequences B. F. Skinner pointed out that psychologists were looking in the wrong place for events that bring about such behaviors.  Skinner’s (1953) research indicated that  the outcome produced by a behavior is the important event in causing an accidental occurrence of a new behavior (new  for the child or the individual) to be repeated.  
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course EDPY 401 taught by Professor Hurst during the Fall '09 term at South Carolina.

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EDPY 401 Behavioral consequences - Behavioral Consequences...

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