4 Tutorials that teach Operant Conditioning: The Basics
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Operant Conditioning: The Basics

Operant Conditioning: The Basics

Author: Barbara Ludins

This lesson will explain the basic concepts of response chaining, shaping and extinction in operant conditioning & how operant conditioning occurs through examination of B.F. Skinner's box experiment.

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Terms to Know
  • BF Skinner

    American psychologist, worked primarily with animals in the 1950’s - 1970’s.

  • Law of Effect

    Edward Thorndike’s concept that if consequences to our actions are pleasant we are likely to repeat our action (strengthen the association), and if the consequences are unpleasant we are not likely to repeat the action (weakening the association).

  • Operant Conditioning

    Learning that occurs through the association of consequences to behaviors.

  • Operant Extinction

    The relationship between the consequences of a behavior and the behavior itself disappears and a person doesn’t perform doesn’t perform a behavior in a situation.

  • Operant Reinforcer

    Anything that follows a response and makes it more likely for that response to be repeated.

  • Response Chaining

    Behaviors are linked together in response to a single reinforcement.

  • Shaping

    Gradual learning of responses into a desired behavior.

  • Skinner Box (chamber)

    A simple box with a lever/button and a place to dispense food where an animal is placed and the rate of the lever being pushed is recorded; a.k.a. a Skinner box.