Psychology Chapter 6

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Operant Conditioning

What is operant conditioning?

a form of learning in which voluntary responses are controlled by consequences

How is operant different from classical?

classical regulates reflexive, involuntary responses while operant governs voluntary responses. Instead of reacting to our environment, we are operating on it

What is the fundamental principle of operant conditioning according to B.F. Skinner?

organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favorable consequences.

Who is most closely associated with operant conditioning?

B.F. Skinner

What is Skinner's concept of reinforcement?

It is something that occurs when an event following a response increases an organism's tendency to make that response

What is a Skinner box?

a small enclosure in which an animal can make a specific response that is systematically recorded while the consequences of the response are controlled

Where classical conditioning is elicited, operant conditioning is...?

emitted, or sent forth

What are reinforcement contingencies?

circumstances or rules that determine whether responses lead to the presentation of reinforcers

What is the key dependent variable in most research on operant conditioning?

the subject's response rate over time

What is a cumulative recorder?

creates a graphic record of responding and reinforcement in a skinner box. a pen's movement on paper produce a graphic summary of the animal's responding over time and slash marks for each reinforcer

How does one interpret a slope on a operant conditioning graph?

If it is a steep slope: rapid response, Shallow slope: slow response

What is shaping? Example?

the reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response; making the animal do something you want. When you keep giving the bird food when it gets closer to the light so it will tap it.

When does extinction occur in operant conditioning?

when previously available reinforcement is stopped

What is resistance to extinction?

when an organism continues to make a response after the reinforcer is terminated. The longer it takes for the response to go away, the greater the resistance

What is a discriminative stimuli? Example?

cues that influence operant behavior by indicating the reinforcement or non reinforcement of a response. When the bird learns to only peck the light when it's lit

What are reactions to a discriminative stimuli governed by?

stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination

How is stimulus generalization and discrimination different in operant and classical conditioning?

Generalization: in classical the CR is elicited by new stimulus resembles the CS, and in operant the responding increases in stimulus that resembles discriminative stimulus. Discrimination: In Classical the CR is not elicited by new stimulus that resembles the original CS, in operant the responding does not increase in similar stimulus

What is the central process in reinforcement and when is reinforcement defined?

strengthening of a response tendency; after the fact, in terms of its effect on behavior.

What are primary reinforcers?

events that are inherently reinforcing because they satisfy biological needs: food, sex, warmth

What are secondary, or conditioned, reinforcers?

events that acquire reinforcing qualities by being associated with primary reinforcers; material things

What is a schedule of reinforcement?

a specific pattern of presentation of reinforcers over time.

What is Continuous reinforcement?

every instance of a designated response is reinforced, the simplest pattern

What is Intermittent reinforcement?

reinforced some of the time

Which type of reinforcement makes a response more resistant to extinction?

Intermittent

What is a ratio schedule?

requires the organism to make the designated response a certain number of times to gain each reinforcer

What are the two types of ratio schedules?

fixed and variable

What is a fixed ratio schedule? Example?

FR, the reinforcer is given after a fixed number of non reinforced responses. Rat is reinforced for every tenth lever press.

What is a variable-ratio schedule? Example?

VR, the reinforcer is given after a variable number of nonreinforced responses (slot machine). Ex. Rat reinforced for every tenth lever press on average. The number of responses varies.

What are interval schedules? Example?

require a time period to pass between the presentation of reinforcers.

What are the two types of interval schedules?

fixed and ratio

What is a fixed interval schedule? Ex.?

FI, the reinforcer is given for the first response that occurs after a fixed time interval has elapsed. Rat is reinforced for the first lever press after a 2 minute interval and cannot received the next for another 2 minutes

What is a variable interval schedule? Ex.?

VI, the reinforcer is given for the first response after a variable time interval has elapsed. The interval length varies around a predetermined average. Rat is reinforced for the first lever press after 1 minute, but then 2 minutes for the next time.

Do ratio or interval schedules produce more rapid responding?

ratio scheduling

Do variable or fixed schedules generate steadier response rates and greater resistance to extinction?

variable scheduling

What is positive reinforcement? Ex.?

when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the presentation. good grades, paychecks, attention, flattery

What is a negative reinforcement? Ex.?

when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the removal of an unpleasant stimulus. rat conditioned to press a lever because it stops electric shock. clean the house to get rid of mess. give in to child to stop whining.

What is escape learning? Ex.?

when an organism requires a response that decreases or ends some aversive stimulation. escaping an unpleasant stimulus. Leaving a party where you were getting picked on.

What is avoidance learning? Ex.?

an organism acquire a response that prevents unpleasant stimulation from occurring (not going to parties anymore because you were picked on, or not taking the elevator)

What is punishment? Ex.?

when an event following a response weakens the tendency to make that response, either the presentation of an unpleasant stimulus or the taking away of a pleasant one. Spanking a child or taking away their video games if they misbehave.

How are punishment and negative reinforcement different?

Negative reinforcement involves the removal of an unpleasant stimulus, thereby strengthening a response. Punishment involves the presentation of an unpleasant stimulus in order to weaken a response

You study to get good grades. What are good grades an example of?

reinforcement

What is acquisition in operant conditioning versus classical?

Operant: responding gradually increases because of reinforcement, possibly through shaping. Classical: CS and US are paired, gradually resulting in CR

What is extinction in operant conditioning versus classical?

Operant: responding gradually slows or stops after reinforcement is terminated Classical: CS is presented alone until it no longer elicits CR

Why does ratio scheduling lead to faster responding?

because faster responding leads to quicker reinforcement when a ratio schedule is in effect

What does negative reinforcement play a key role in?

Escape learning and avoidance learning

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