What is the importance of the operant conditioning in humans?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Operant conditioning is a process of behavioral training proposed by B.F. Skinner in which a combination of actions followed by immediate reinforcement is used to propel a behavior. Slowly the reinforcement is removed as the behavior continues to occur until it becomes a habitual occurrence.

You can see operant conditioning mostly used with animals during the training processes. As the animal does a behavior, the trainer gives the animal a treat so that the animal would repeat it over. Over time, the reinforcement is removed and the behavior occurs.

With humans operant conditioning is a good interventionto use in the classroom, or in learning new behaviors of any kind such as quitting smoking, drinking less, dieting, or exercising more. When you present humans with a motivating factor followed by immediate feedback the behavior is more likely to be repeated and followed.  It is a good strategy for learning because when students receive motivation and feedback they are more able to retain information due to affect in their stimuli.