OPERANT CONDITIONING

by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

December 2018, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.

 

All information in this article is only the opinion of the author and for educational purposes only.  No claims are made for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

 

            Definition.  Operant conditioning is the use of reward and punishment to influence or control the behavior of another person or a creature.  The technique is to reward desired behavior and, at the same time, punish undesired behavior.  In America, the man most associated with behaviorism is psychologist B.F.Skinner (1904-1990).

Value-free.  Operant conditioning is only concerned with changing behavior, and does not care what other effects, no matter how harmful, the techniques or methods have upon a person.

            Behaviorism.  This is another word that has a similar meaning to operant conditioning.

 

            Other words used in operant conditioning include:

The subject.  This is the person who is being manipulated or controlled.

The operative.  This is the person who is in charge of the conditioning process.

 

            No free will.  Dr. B.F. Skinner believed that all human behavior is the result of conditioning and that free will is really an illusion.  Human beings just respond to positive reinforcement and move away from negative reinforcement.

 

To be continued

 

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