Essay Questions on Conditioning and Reinforcement

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Question 1. Briefly describe operant conditioning and classical/Pavlovian conditioning. (6 points)
Operant conditioning is a theory that evaluates the behavior of individuals as was founded by psychologist B.F. Skinner. The definition for operant conditioning according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is: “conditioning in which the desired behavior or increasingly closer approximations to it are followed by a rewarding or reinforcing stimulus.” In other words, it is learning that is based on the possibility that our behavior can be shaped by us receiving rewards or punishments, thus there would be a consequence for our behavior. Kendra Cherry (2014) shares the view that B.F Skinner “believed that internal thoughts and motivations could
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Classical conditioning on the other hand was founded by Ivan Pavlov in the 20th century. According to the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, he explains it to be “conditioning in which the conditioned stimulus (as the sound of a bell) is paired with and precedes the unconditioned stimulus (as the sight of food) until the conditioned stimulus alone is sufficient to elicit the response (as salivation in a dog).” Putting it into a more simple explanation is to say that, it is the relationship between a stimuli and a response or vice versa. This theory is used to train animals especially dogs so as to get the required behavioral results that is required. He used this theory when he did an experiment on some dogs where he presented them with food and tested their saliva level after which, he at the second time used a bell to get their attention but at that point they did not drool until after the food was presented. Repeating the method of ringing the bell which was conditioning the dogs brains that food would be presented and they began to salivate at the sound of the bell.

Question 2. Define and compare positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. Describe how each can be used to

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