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Define the operant conditioning elements in Psychology: Positive reinforcement,negative...

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cenicienta | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:37 PM via web

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Define the operant conditioning elements in Psychology: Positive reinforcement,negative reinforcement, punishment and the use of occupational therapy.

What are the forms in which these conditioning elements are used: primary/secondary, immediate/delayed 

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:19 PM (Answer #1)

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Operant conditioning stems from behaviorism which is a learning theory that emphasizes the predictable role of the environment in causing behaviour that can be observed.B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) introduced the connection between consequences and behavior in his

formula of human learning.

Free will is an important factor. The likelihood of repeating a behavior is linked to the amount of pleasure or pain associated with that behavior. Even without being aware of experiments and models, most parents have, at some time, used reward systems and punishments and few would dispute the effectiveness of  the'naughty corner' which is a basic

tenet(s) of operant conditioning and ...the acquisition of rudimentary adaptive behaviors.

Organizational management uses operant conditioning to obtain pleasing results from employees and create a pleasing environment. Primary and secondary reinforcers are those events that

increase the probability that certain behavior will occur in the future

Basic needs generally form the primary reinforcers:food, water, and shelter, for example as they are themselves rewarding. Secondary reinforcers of which money would be a prime example

have a reinforcing effect because of their relationship with primary reinforcers (for example, money can buy food).

The environmental factors must obviously be appropriate. Water, for example, will not serve its purpose as a primary reinforcer if a person is not thirsty.

Positive and negative reinforcement could be primary reinforcers or secondary based on the operation.

Punishment - in the context of operant conditioning- includes the following qualities:

consistent, immediate, impersonal, and contingent on specific behavior.

There is always an ultimate goal and so punishment needs to be informative. Employees do not always see the problem and so it is necessary to let them know so that, by refraining from a certain undesirable behavior, they can avoid the punishment.

Employees have been shown to respond and improve performance under operant conditioning conditions; regardless of whether it is positive,negative or corrective feedback. A study found that failing to notify an employee

on good performance diminished worker effectiveness and reduced worker satisfaction.

Occupational Therapy has been used to help struggling children adapt their behaviors to ensure a better outcome for them using basic voluntary actions to obtain pleasing results. Individual, cultural and social influences can restrict the effectiveness of operant conditioning and Occupational Therapy is the key to assisting children or even young adults in a more one-on-one environment.

Reinforcement is most effective when it immediately follows an event. Without the reinforcement, eventually the desirable behavior will be "extinguished" and no longer relevant. This is so for all the behaviors.

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