Skinner Box - VCE U4 Psychology

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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.

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Skinner Box - VCE U4 Psychology

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. Skinners experiments with rats The Skinner Box
  3. 3. 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• .
  4. 4. 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

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