Introductory Psychology: Learning Part II (Operant)


Published on

lecture 19 from a college level introduction to psychology course taught Fall 2011 by Brian J. Piper, Ph.D. ( at Willamette University, operant conditioning

Published in: Education, Technology

Introductory Psychology: Learning Part II (Operant)

  1. 1. Learning II: SkinnerianBrian J. Piper, Ph.D. 1
  2. 2. Operant Conditioning Burrhus Frederic Skinner 1904-1990 Skinner’s Experiments Extending Skinner’s Understanding Skinner’s Legacy Contrasting Classical & Operant Conditioning
  3. 3. Operant & Classical Conditioning1. Classical conditioning forms associations between stimuli (CS and US). Operant conditioning, on the other hand, forms an association between behaviors and the resulting events.
  4. 4. Operant & Classical Conditioning2. Classical conditioning involves respondent behavior that occurs as an automatic response to a certain stimulus. Operant conditioning involves operant behavior, a behavior that operates on the environment, producing rewarding or punishing stimuli.
  5. 5. Thorndike’s Experiments 1874-1949Edward Thorndike discovered the law of effect.This law states that rewarded behavior is likely to occur again. Yale University Library
  6. 6. Operant Chamber Using Thorndikes law of effect as a starting point, Skinner developed theOperant chamber, or the Skinner box, to study operant conditioning. Edition by Michael P. Domjan, 2005. Used with permission From The Essentials of Conditioning and Learning, 3rd by Thomson Learning, Wadsworth Division Walter Dawn/ Photo Researchers, Inc.
  7. 7. Operant Chamber The operant chamber,or Skinner box, comes with a bar or key thatan animal manipulates to obtain a reinforcerlike food or water. Thebar or key is connected to devices that recordthe animal’s response.
  8. 8. Shaping Lever Pressing Behavior• simply turning toward the lever will be reinforced• only stepping toward the lever will be reinforced• only moving to within a specified distance from the lever will be reinforced• only touching the lever with any part of the body, such as the nose, will be reinforced• only touching the lever with a specified paw will be reinforced• only depressing the lever partially with the specified paw will be reinforced• only depressing the lever completely with the specified paw will be reinforced
  9. 9. Shaping Shaping is the operant conditioning procedure in which reinforcers guide behavior towards the desired target behavior through successive approximations.10 min:
  10. 10. Types of ReinforcersReinforcement: Any event that strengthens the behavior it follows.
  11. 11. Primary & Secondary Reinforcers1. Primary Reinforcer: An innately reinforcing stimulus like food or drink.2. Secondary Reinforcer: A learned reinforcer that gets its reinforcing power through association with the primary reinforcer.
  12. 12. Immediate & Delayed Reinforcers 1. Immediate Reinforcer: A reinforcer that occurs instantly after a behavior. A rat gets a food pellet for a bar press. 2. Delayed Reinforcer: A reinforcer that is delayed in time for a certain behavior. A paycheck that comes at the end of a week.We may be inclined to engage in small immediate reinforcers(watching TV) rather than large delayed reinforcers (getting anA in a course) which require consistent study.
  13. 13. Reinforcement Schedules1. Continuous Reinforcement: Reinforces the desired response each time it occurs.2. Partial Reinforcement: Reinforces a response only part of the time. Though this results in slower acquisition in the beginning, it shows greater resistance to extinction later on.
  14. 14. Ratio Schedules1. Fixed-ratio schedule: Reinforces a response only after a specified number of responses. e.g., piecework pay.2. Variable-ratio schedule: Reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses. This is hard to extinguish because of the unpredictability (e.g., behaviors like gambling, fishing).
  15. 15. Interval Schedules1. Fixed-interval schedule: Reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed. (e.g., preparing for an exam only when the exam draws close.)2. Variable-interval schedule: Reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals, which produces slow, steady responses. (e.g., pop quiz.)
  16. 16. Applications of Operant Conditioning Skinner introduced the concept of teaching machines that shape learning in small steps and provide immediate reinforcements for correct responses. They also provide individualized instruction.Skinner (1958). Science, 128, 969-977. In School LWA-JDL/ Corbis
  17. 17. Applications of Operant Conditioning• Animal training• Applied Behavior Analysis: – Worth video Sampler: 2004 Abnormal Psychology
  18. 18. PunishmentAny event that decreases the behavior it follows.
  19. 19. PunishmentAlthough there may be some justification for occasionalpunishment, it usually leads to negative effects. 1. Results in unwanted fears. 2. Conveys no information to the organism. 3. Causes unwanted behaviors to reappear in its absence 4. Justifies pain to others. 5. Causes aggression towards the agent.
  20. 20. Biological Predisposition Biological constraintspredispose organisms to learn associations that are naturally adaptive. Breland and Breland (1961) showed that animals drift towards Photo: Bob Bailey their biologicallypredisposed instinctive behaviors. Marian Breland Bailey
  21. 21. Latent LearningTolman & Honzik (1930) University of California Publications in Psychology, 4, 257-275.
  22. 22. Latent LearningTolman & Honzik (1930) University of California Publications in Psychology, 4, 257-275.
  23. 23. Skinner’s Legacy Skinner argued that behaviors were shaped byexternal influences instead of inner thoughts and feelings.
  24. 24. Most “Eminent” Psychologist of 20th Century• Eminence was defined based on: – journal citation frequency – textbook citation frequency – survey of professional society (APS) – Membership in National Academy of SciencesHaggbloom et al. (2002). Review of General Psychology, 6, 139-159.
  25. 25. Most “Eminent” Psychologists of 20th Century
  26. 26. History of Behaviorism Key Quote (1930)“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specifiedworld to bring them up in and Ill guarantee to take any one at randomand train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor,lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief,regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, andrace of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but sohave the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it formany thousands of years.” 27
  27. 27. Originator Ivan Pavlov Fred Skinner