Skinner's Theory Of Operant Conditioning

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Shaping explains the process of acquisition of more complex sorts of behaviours. Skinner explained shaping as the method of successive approximations. Basically, it involves first reinforcing a behaviour even vaguely similar to the one desired. Once that is established, you look out for variations that comes a little closer to what you want, and so on, until you have the animal performing a behaviour that would never show up in ordinary life. Skinner and his students have been quite successful in teaching simple animals to do some quite extraordinary things.
This is the same method that is used in the therapy called systematic desensitization, invented by another behaviourist named Joseph Wolpe. For e.g. A person with a phobia of
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He proposed his theory on operant conditioning by conducting various experiments on animals. The following is the most significant experiment on rats where he used a special box known as “Skinner Box”.
Firstly, he placed a hungry rat inside the Skinner box. The rat was initially inactive inside the box, but gradually as it began to adapt to the environment of the box, it began to explore around. Eventually, the rat discovered a lever, upon pressing which; food was released inside the box. After it filled its hunger, it started exploring the box again, and after a while it pressed the lever for the second time as it grew hungry again. This phenomenon continued for the third, fourth and the fifth time, and after a while, the hungry rat immediately pressed the lever once it was placed in the box. Then the conditioning was deemed to be complete. Some of these behaviours are strengthened by responses from the environment (reinforcement), whereas others are weakened by responses from the environment
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It is possible some people are born with predispositions towards behaviours, rather than learning them through conditioning. This might explain why some people turn to crime or develop musical talent without being reinforced. Another criticism can be on the face that the theory focuses entirely on behaviours and ignores cognitions. Cognitions are thought-processes and include things like personality, willpower and motivation. Sigmund Freud argued that a lot of self-destructive behaviour comes from hidden thought-processes in the unconscious mind and are not learned and cannot be un-learned so

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