This file accompanies a Youtube clip made on the origins of Operant Conditioning, with specific reference to the Skinner box application of both Positive and Negative reinforcement. See www.ePsychVCE.com for a link to the Youtube clip.
Operant Conditioning• Preamble: Skinner believed that we both predict & control behaviour.• Thus by manipulating the environment, you can manipulate behaviour• Defined as: A learning process in which the consequences which follow a response determine whether the behaviour will be repeated• Behaviour will likely be repeated which has reinforced• And tend not to be repeated with punishment
Skinner Box – Postive Reinforcement• Initially behaviour was random, but can inadvertently tripped lever and was rewarded with a food pellet• The rat didn’t take long to learn that the lever represented a means of obtaining the reinforcer• The consequence of receiving food (a desirable stimulus) for lever pressing ensured that it would repeat the action• Skinner was initially using a continuous reinforcement schedule• .
Skinner Box: Negative Reinforcement• Rat was subjected to unpleasant electric current• Accidental lever pressing – switched off electric current• The consequence of escaping the electric current (an aversive stimulus) ensured that it would repeat the action (of lever pressing)• Subsequently: A light would be switched on, just prior to electric current• Thus lever pressing after the light was negatively reinforced