Operant Conditioning Essay

908 words - 4 pages

A man named Edward Thorndike spent many years observing and studying animals and their behavior. In one experiment he used something he called puzzle-boxes, and would continuously view cats trying and successfully escaping the boxes (Wikipedia.com, 2006). He observed that at first the cats took a while to escape, but as the number of attempts increased the frequency of a successful escapes were greater (Wikipedia.com, 2006). From this he put together the law of effect, theorizing that the consequence of the behavior will determine whether the same behavior is strengthened or weakened (Wood, Wood, Boyd, 2006).B. F. Skinner was the one who took and built upon Thorndike?s theories and formed ...view middle of the document...

? Operant is simply a voluntary behavior. We as humans have very complex brains which allows us to learn and understand brand new things, ideas, concepts, etc. on a daily basis. Young children are constantly learning and they learn by doing and waiting for the response. If the response is pleasing to them there is a good chance they will do it again, and if the response is bad then the will think twice before doing it. Even adults use this when come across something that is unfamiliar. Although with adults it seems like there is a better chance the action or behavior will not happen again if the response is unpleasant, possibly because they also have other similar experiences to relate it to.We as humans are also creatures of habit. We do things over and over in our lives, like going to the same restaurant, because we are pleased with the outcome of past visits. We feel comfortable that the outcome will be the same. Humans like feeling comfortable and that seems to be why we develop habits, basically through operant conditioning. Operant conditioning can also help to develop bad habits and behaviors though. An example of this would be a child crying and throwing a fit about getting a toy every time at the store and since the parent gives in every once in awhile to shut the kid up. The parent in this situation is positively reinforcing the bad behavior of the child.I think operant conditioning does play a role in everyone?s response and behavior, although I don?t think it is the only concept...

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