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43 Cards in this Set

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Law of Effect
in a given situation, an organism's responses that are closely followed by satisfaction will be more likely to recur in that situation
whereas those that are followed by discomfort will be less likely to recur

What did B.F. Skinner examine specificly in the Law of Effect?
How the consequences of behavior affect future responding
Operant behavior
behavior operates on the environment, changes it in some way (produces consequences), and is itself altered as a result
Operant response class
all behaviors that produce the same consequence, regardless of their form
What is the example with turning on a tv of the operant response class?
-pushing power button on tv
-using remote
-asking someone else to turn it on
What was the example with Ann in operant conditioning?
She is learning to write her name.
Her father praises her correct approximations and mildly reprimands or ignores her incorrect attempts.
Also, he only praises her attempts that occur at appropriate times.
What is the antecedent stimulus for the operant response of writing "Ann"?
"Please write your name."
What are the three components that simple operant relationships can be described in?
*Antecedent stimulus* for a *response* that produces certain *consequences*
What can the three components also be called?
What two effects can stimuli produced by a response have?
1) Future occurrence of the response will increase
2) Future occurrence of the response will decrease
When a response is followed by a change in the environment (reinforcer) and is thereby strengthened under similar circumstances
What are four things reinforcement can cause?
-Increase in future rate
-Increase in future probability of the occurrence of the response
-Decrease in response latency
-Increase in response magnitude
What does reinforcement always do?
Strengthen behavior under circumstances that are similar to those that were present when reinforcement occurred
Positive reinforcer (S^R+)
a stimulus that strengthens behavior by virture of being presented following the occurrence of such behavior
What does the "positive" indicate?
The addition of the consequence
Negative reinforcer (S^R-)
a stimulus that strengthens the behavior by virtue of being subtracted (or decreased in intensity) following the occurrence of such behavior
What does the "negative" indicate?
The subtraction of the consequence
What is important to recognize in regard to reinforcers?
That reinforcers are defined in terms of how they affect behavior, not in terms of their subjective effects
What are humans typically unaware of?
Unaware of the reinforcers that maintain their behavior
Unconditioned reinforcers (primary reinforcers)
strengthen behavior in organisms without any particular history of learning (in most "normal" members of a particular species)

Many are of direct biological significance (e.g. air, food, water)
Unconditioned negative reinforcers
stimuli which organisms will escape (respond to terminate) or avoid (respond to prevent contact with)
What are examples of unconditioned negative reinforcers?
High-intensity stimulation:
-loud sounds
-bright lights
-intense cold or heat

Conditioned reinforcers (secondary reinforcers)
gain their ability to strengthen behavior through learning
How can you establish conditioned reinforcers?
By pairing previously neutral stimuli with unconditioned reinforcers or established conditioned reinforcers in the same way that stimuli are paired in classical conditioning
What was the dog example of a conditioned reinforcer?
Saying "good dog" became a conditioned reinforcer after repeatedly being paired with petting or food
How can painful stimuli, such as being struck by a belt, become conditioned reinforcers?
By being paired with power unconditioned reinforcers (e.g. sexual stimulation)
When does a conditioned reinforcer lose the capacity to strengthen behavior?
When it is no longer paired occasionally with another reinforcer
Generalized conditioned reinforcer
conditioned reinforcers that are paired with many other reinforcers

E.g. money, attention
Delayed reinforcement
the response-strengthening effects of reinforcers diminish rapidly as the delay between the response and the reinforcer increases
What is the maximum amount of time that a reinforcer can be delayed to be effective?
One minute

Immediacy is VERY important
Superstitious Reinforcement
environmental events may reinforce responses that precede them even if the response does not actually produce the reinforcer
What is superstitious reinforcement also called?
What have some psychologists described reinforcers as?
Behaviors (consequences) that only become possible when other behaviors (the operant response) occur
Premack Principle
For any two behaviors that occur with different probabilities (amount of time spent engaging in the behavior),
the opportunity to engage in the higher probability behavior will
reinforce (or increase) the lower probability behavior
What is an example of the Premack principle?
Food delivery (which allows for the higher probability behavior of eating in a deprived rat) will reinforce bar pressing (a lower-probability behavior)
How can you punish/decrease the higher probability behavior?
Force an organism to engage in the lower probability behavior when a higher probability behavior occurs.
What kind of behaviors can operant conditioning strengthen?
Socially desirable behaviors, as well as socially undesirable behaviors
What was wrong with the wheel-chair bound man?
He said he suffered from back pain for more than 15 years with no medical cause
How did they treat him?
They had sessions of social reinforcement from a young female assistant.

She would reinforce his efforts to stand, the praised gradual approximations of walking
What were the results?
After 18 days he was walking normally and was able to leave the hospital
Why did he relapse?
His family had reinforced his complaints and other behaviors indicative of illness, but had ignored walking and other behaviors indicative of wellness
How did they treat him again?
By using social reinforcement and teaching his family to reinforce his attempts to stand and walk, and ignore his commplaints of illness
What does this example illustrate?
Systematic attempts to change the consequences of particular behaviors can lead to significant improvements in a person's life.

Naturally occurring reinforcement can also strengthen undesirable behaviors.