Reinforcement after an average but variable number of

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Reinforcement after an average, but variable, number of responses Discriminative Stimulus - A stimulus that signals when a particular response is likely to be followed by a certain type of consequence - Eg. When the light is on, the reward contingency is in effect (Skinner’s box experiment) Shaping - Reinforcing successive approximations to a target behavior - Speeds up the learning process Superstitious Behavior - Operant conditioning can lead to superstitious behavior when a reinforcing stimulus is inadvertently paired with some response - Skinner demonstrated superstitious behavior in pigeons Instinctive Drift: - The tendency of an animal to revert to evolved automatic behaviors that interfere with operant responses Latent Learning (Tolman and Honzik, 1930) - Maze learning study with rats: Twenty days to learn the layout of the maze Group 1: never reinforced
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Group 2: always reinforced Group 3: reinforced only after day 10 Observational Learning - Learning that occurs by observing the behavior of a demonstrator (model) and the consequences of that behavior. (a kind of vicarious conditioning) - Bandura’s approach was called ‘Social Theory Learning’ Bandura’s Bobo Doll Studies (1961) - Children observed a model interacting with a Bobo doll - Group 1: watched an aggressive model - Group 2: watched a non-aggressive model - Children later allowed to play with the Bobo doll - Children acted towards the doll the same way that the model demonstrated: Children who saw an aggressive model acted much more aggressively towards the doll They imitated the same aggressive behaviors they had seen the model use Children imitated the model more when the model was the same sex as them Girls were more likely to imitate verbal aggression and boys were more likely to imitate physical aggression Overall, the boys were more physically aggressive than the girls Children imitated the model more when the aggression was rewarded and less when it was punished Further Findings from related studies: - By the time a child finishes grade school, they have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence on TV (1992 estimate) - Children also imitate the aggressive behavior of actors in films and even cartoons, not just real, live models - Children also act aggressively toward a real person (not just toward dolls) after observing an aggressive model Preparedness and Observational Learning - Display of fear by others (US) fear in oneself (UR) - Fear is naturally contagious Positive Effects of Operant Conditioning - Can help us to understand where maladaptive behaviors come from - Can be used to reduce problem behaviors; behavior modification or applied behavior analysis - Can be used to positively reinforce adaptive behaviors Negative Consequences of Operant Conditioning Corporal Punishment - Harsh physical punishment is associated with a host of negative outcomes
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- Punishment, in general, is overused in discipline, but to make it most effective and least harmful:
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