Operant conditioning is a behavioural learning theory introduced by psychologist B.F.Skinner. Also known as Instrumental conditioning, it relies on the basis of using positive and negative reinforcement to elicit desired behaviours and decrease undesired behaviours. Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behaviour and a consequence. Conditioning in the regular interval will create long-term memory otherwise short-term. Short term memory only temporarily changes the usual circumstance.
Operant Conditioning was coined by behaviourist Burrhus Frederic Skinner,
For example- Speaking from a public arena is always a challenging act
If the crowd is appreciated and complimented, the speaker is more likely to be encouraged for the future. On the other hand, if the speaker is condemned or he is unable to create rejoice, in future he is likely to run away from such opportunity. Here, the reaction of the crowd is the positive and negative reinforcers. Being cheered is the positive reinforcement while being booed is the negative reinforcement.
The term “Operant conditioning” was coined by behaviourist B.F. Skinner, which is why you may occasionally hear it referred to as Skinnerian conditioning.1 As a behaviourist, Skinner believed that it was not really necessary to look at internal thoughts and motivations in order to explain behaviour. Instead, he suggested, we should look only at the external, observable causes of human behaviour.
Through the first part of the 20th-century, behaviourism had become a major force within psychology. The ideas of John B. Watson dominated this school of thought early on. Watson focused on the principles of classical conditioning, once famously suggesting that he could take any person regardless of their background and train them to be anything he chose.
Operant conditioning relies on a fairly simple premise – actions that are followed by reinforcement will be strengthened and more likely to occur again in the future. If you tell a funny story in class and everybody laughs, you will probably be more likely to tell that story again in the future. If you raise your hand to ask a question and your teacher praises your polite behaviour, you will be more likely to raise your hand the next time you have a question or comment. Because the behaviour was followed by reinforcement or a desirable outcome, the preceding actions are strengthened.
Difference between classical and operant conditioning
Classical conditioning was first described by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. He focuses on involuntary, automatic behaviours, which involves placing a neutral signal before a reflex while Operant Conditioning was first described by B. F. Skinner, an American psychologist.
-It involves applying reinforcement or punishment after a behaviour.
-It focuses on strengthening or weakening voluntary behaviours
Types of Operant Conditioning
There are two principles components of
Reinforcement– A kind of stimulus that aims to increase the strength in behaviour due to its consequences. It is of two types (a) Positive Reinforcement (2) Negative Reinforcement
(a) Positive Reinforcement- it is favourable or affirmative events or outcomes that are presented after the behaviour. For example- Students are learning every day something new, proper grade after exams is a kind of positive reinforcer. Good grades are the reinforcers for studying further meticulously. On the other hand, not suffice with the grades even after hard work. A student can end up neglecting studies. It will come under long term memory because if student neglect study they will be punished. Many philosophers end up calling Positive reinforcements as “rattrap”. Another good example would be an increment in salary when the performance of employees is up to the mark
(b) Negative Reinforcement – it involves the removal of unfavourable events or outcomes after the display of the behaviour. Aversive stimuli tend to involve some type of discomfort, either physical or psychological. Behaviours are negatively reinforced when they allow you to escape from aversive stimuli that are already present or allow you to completely avoid the aversive stimuli before they happen. Deciding to take an antacid before you indulge in a spicy meal is an example of negative reinforcement. You engage in an action in order to avoid a negative result.
For example- To leave the house early in anticipation of the traffic, on being served vegetable, the child cried, and the vegetables were removed.
Another example is you leave your house early to avoid being late in college. In this case, if you will late in class you may be punished by the teacher so from that unfavourable event you must leave your house early. It will come under short term memory because the lesson they get by punishment they will forget soon. It will come under short term memory because if student neglect study they will be punished
Punishment– Punishment is a kind of stimulus that aims to decrease the strength in behaviour due to its consequences. It is of two types (a) Positive punishment (b) Negative punishment
(a) Positive punishment- This type of punishment is also known as “punishment by the application.” Positive punishment involves presenting an aversive stimulus after the behaviour has occurred. For example, when a student talks out of turn in the middle of class, the teacher might scold the child for interrupting her. It will come under short term memory because the lesson they get by punishment they will forget soon.
(b) Negative punishment- This type of punishment is also known as “punishment by removal.” Negative punishment involves taking away a desirable stimulus after the behaviour has occurred. For example, when the student from the previous example talks out of turn again, 10 the teacher promptly tells the child that he will have to miss recess because of his behaviour. It will come under short term memory because the lesson they get by punishment they will forget soon.
Conclusion– Operant conditioning can be applied in several ways in the learning environment. When an instructor has the ability to discern between what best suits a student, whether in regards to reinforcement, punishment, or other factors – they have a path to reach him/her and success in learning skills and ideas. Thus, its application can enhance these environments and students’ knowledge and is a fantastic tool for education.