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Published: 16-10-2019

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A Personal Study on B. F. Skinner's Theory on Operant Conditioning

The theory that I chose to write about is B.F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning simply because it intrigues me and is the a single that I agree with the most. B.F. Skinner is an outstanding American psychologist who created a single of the most influential theories there is. Skinner is a behaviorist and had created his theory by way of conducting many amounts of analysis on shaping behavior. Operant conditioning is a behavior modification technique, which he developed in contrast with classical conditioning from Pavlov and Watson. His idea of the behavior modification method was to place the subject on a program with actions. The methods included setting ambitions, which would help you determine how the topic would be changed by following the mentioned measures.

Operant conditioning is a type of understanding exactly where a person’s actions are reinforced or punished. The principle of Skinner’s theory reflects on how behavior that is positively reinforced will most probably reoccur again. In order for responses to be reinforced, data must be presented in small amounts. Another essential principle states that reinforcements will also generalize across similar stimuli, which, in turn produces secondary conditioning. In summary, behavior is influenced by the consequences of actions, and reinforcement is critical in altering or altering behavior. The term reinforcement in itself is any characteristic in the atmosphere that increases the likelihood that a person will repeat a behavior in the future. On the contrary, punishment is any characteristic that decreases the probability that a person will repeat a behavior. According to B.F. Skinner, “children operate on their environments (therefore the term operant conditioning), adjusting their behaviors to attract far more reinforcements and to stay away from punishments”. (12)

This theory of Skinner’s proves that children adjust behavior to achieve reinforcement and to keep away from punishment as effectively. Operant conditioning and Skinner’s theory have been applied all through a variety of types of research and clinical settings. Teachers use this approach of operant conditioning to manage children in their classroom and parents apply both constructive and negative reinforcement to their children as effectively throughout their day-to-day lives.

When it came to a lot more complex sorts of behaviors, the idea of shaping came into play. The process of shaping is selectively reinforcing specific behaviors while ignoring or punishing other folks. It is mentioned that language development and how youngsters come to produce speech have to do with shaping. “Learning theorists believe that the distinct language instruction a kid receives governs language improvement and that biological predispositions do not play an crucial role”. (264) When conducting investigation, Skinner and his students have had successful outcomes in getting simple animals to do really tough factors employing shaping. We, as humans, are primarily shaped by our environment to get pleasure from or dislike certain items.

This theory each compares and contrasts with my childhood and how I was growing up in a quite a few amount of approaches. In regards to shaping, I noticed that my parents would reinforce good behavior as significantly as achievable when I was finding out math due to the fact it was one thing I struggled a bit far more with as a kid. I would be placed in an environment where all I could do is understand and there would be no distractions. My parents would continuously tell me how vital it was that I get good grades. I would be praised for the excellent grades I received and it made me want to function harder to get that praise constantly. I nevertheless encounter a type of operant conditioning even during college. Credit cards give far more student loan options to students who are performing properly in a university which is one more kind of a reward that makes them function significantly tougher. However, occasionally operant conditioning doesn’t operate and if parents were to punish their kid continuously for receiving poor grades, a youngster can develop to have a hatred towards school as they develop up. It is important to be understanding as properly as notice that often youngsters struggle and reinforcement is not often going to offer the outcome you want.

I believe strongly in discipline and not caving in to your kids when you already told them no a number of instances. For example, if a kid wants to get candy or a toy in a shop and starts crying, a parent need to be stern and continue to refuse the candy bar. If the parent ends up giving in and acquiring the youngster the candy or toy, the youngster can commence to put two and two together and apply this method of operant conditioning in a damaging reinforcement way. Consequently, there requirements to be a constant pattern displayed by means of this method.

Specific ethical or cultural problems that may possibly connect with the operant conditioning theory

from Skinner would be any time that there is physical or mental abuse getting placed upon a particular person. Punishment becoming placed upon a individual must never do any physical harm and reinforcement must be healthful and not anything that could be considered addictive. There requirements to be a lot of care and interest that goes into both correcting and teaching behavior. B.F. Skinner is stated to have also “grossly underplayed the part of biology in forging and regulating human behavior dismissing the burgeoning fields of behavioral genetics, evolutionary psychology, and cognitive science. Skinner argued that humans don’t genuinely feel — that they merely respond to environmental cues”. As a result, this theory can not apply across all cultures simply because there are certain cultural elements that 1 particular person may possibly experience opposed to an individual else. Parents could use stricter types of operant conditioning in diverse nations since that is how they had been raised and a youngster could not have the very same good effect like Skinner would hope his theory proves.

My interactions with youngsters are now influenced by this theory simply because I have grown more cautious in understanding that basically you can try to train a youngster by way of delivery and reinforcement but eventually it all comes down to how the kid is. Operant conditioning does not necessarily usually supply the outcome you want if the kid refuses to go along with it. I will attempt to apply the technique of operant conditioning when babysitting or when I have my own children someday to alter behaviors as greatest as I can if a kid is acting up unnecessarily.

Some parenting suggestions that I would give parents would be to stray away from the authoritarian strategy as greatest as achievable and realize that there is a distinction amongst discipline and damaging discipline. Employing the operant conditioning technique to maintain youngsters “in line” and precisely how you want them to act can be harming for them down the line. If a kid is usually harmfully punished for his wrong actions, there will be a lot of mental damage done and it can hurt the youngster rather of permit him to develop and understand his wrongdoings. The greatest tips to understand and incorporate into parenting is that there is a fine line between discipline and compassion/understanding. If a kid does something incorrectly, speak to them patiently and calmly with out the reinforcement. At times a child can grasp and have a greater understanding via the kindness a parent shows due to the fact they see the concern come from the heart. It is also critical to be constant if applying B.F. Skinner’s approach of operant conditioning since a kid can get confused on what is right and what is incorrect. If a youngster gets punished for carrying out some thing but also receives positive reinforcement, they might execute their behavior as soon as more in hopes of receiving that good reward once again.

All in all, B.F. Skinner’s approach of operant conditioning does function but it is essential to use it to an extent in parenting and recognize that it might operate for some but not for others. It is all dependent on outdoors variables such as cultural values, parenting types, and our lives in basic.
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