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Operant conditioning is one of the theories of learning founded by a famous American psychologist Skinner, but the real founder of the theory is Edward Thorndike. Operant conditioning is a process that attempts to modify behaviour through rewards (reinforcement) or through consequences (punishment).
Reinforcement defined as an increase in a good behaviour after the reward and praise, and the reinforcement divided into two types: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is the positive results given to the person after the desired behavior and this increases the continuation of this behavior, and there are some examples of positive reinforcement:
Negative reinforcement: Negative reinforcement is removing something unloved after good or desired behaviour, this is also meant to increase behavior behavior, and there are some examples of negative reinforcement:
Punishment: Punishment occurs when you see bad behavior from the person then punished him to learning and does not repeat this behavior, and punishment divided into two types: positive punishment and negative punishment.
Positive punishment: Positive punishment is used to reduce the bad behavior and offers something unloved after behavior, and there are some examples of positive punishment:
Negative punishment: Negative punishment is also used to reduce the bad behavior and remove something lovable after behavior, and there are some examples of negative punishment:
Two children fight each other to take a toy, so their mother takes the toy from them. As you can see in this example, the fight between the two children is the bad behavior and taking the toy is the punishment until they stop the fight and do not repeat this behavior.
Skinner has done many experiments on animals, so he used a box called his name (Box Skinner), and the following include some of his experiments. Skinner’s classic studies on rat behaviour:
First experiment: Where a rat was put in a box so that it can be seen from inside, it was noted that the rat always tries to search for food inside the box, and by mistake he click on a specific place appeared a small meal of food, and was repeated this way to get more food. The experience that explains you positive reinforcement and is that you gets a rewarded after you do desired behavior.
Second experiment: Skinner put an electric current in the box and this was bothering the mouse and harming him and by wrong the mouse pressure on the crane and stopped the electric current, then the mouse learn that if he wants to remove the electric current is pressing pressure on the crane. This experiment explains to you the negative reinforcement that is to remove something unloved or bad after the desired behavior.
Skinner’s classic studies on pigeon behaviour: Skinner did an experiment on the pigeon to study his behavior, where two buttons in the box, one of the buttons if she click it will not get food and one of the buttons if she click it will get food, and whenever the pigeon is hungry she click the button and get food. This experience also explains positive reinforcement.
There are some situations and events I have done in my life that make you understand more about positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment.
Example of positive reinforcement: My big sister asked me to help her in a project of a course material and she told me if you helped me I would order you a McDonald’s meal, so now whenever my sister asked me for help I help her to reward me by something I love.
Example of negative reinforcement: When I had a headache and my head hurts me a lot I took a panadol to remove the pain away from me. As you can see in this example, taking a panadol is the desired behavior and the headache is the thing that I want to remove it and then I learned that taking a panadol will decrease the pain of headache.
Example of positive punishment: When I was little, my sisters and I went on the roof of our house. My father knew that we had gone over the roof and he beat us and shouted us because he feared us and did not want us to hurt. Then I learned not go over the roof again so I would not be punished.
Example of negative punishment: One day in school when I was in the tenth grade in the Arabic language class I was talking to my girlfriend in class and the teacher was explaining the lesson, then the teacher saw me and she was very angry, then she decrease my grades. Then I learned that I should not talk to anyone while explaining the teacher, so the teacher not lower my grades.
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