Chapter Eight: Learning

Operant Conditioning in Real Life

INTRODUCTION

If we could understand the environmental circumstances that control our behavior, we could design a world more to our liking. When operant conditioning is applied to commonplace problems, however, their efforts sometime backfire.

WHAT'S AHEAD

KEY CONCEPTS

Overview
The Problem with Punishment
The Problem with Reward

 




Overview [p.279]

INTRODUCTION

Behaviorists have applied operant principles to a wide variety of real-world settings through behavior modification.


KEY CONCEPTS EXPLAINED

Token economies use secondary reinforcers, like points, to reinforce more desirable behaviors

Future Fast forward to therapy chapter.

GLOSSARY

behavior modification  

token economy  




LINKS About Behavior Modification

 



The Problem with Punishment [p.280]
INTRODUCTION

Although punishment is sometimes unquestionably effective, the effects of punishment are far less predictable than most people realize.


KEY CONCEPTS EXPLAINED


...Reasons why punishment often ineffective:

  1. Punishment often administered inappropriately.

  2. When punished, people often respond with rage, anxiety, fear, and flight.

  3. "When cat's away, the mice will play" - the effect of punishment may be only temporary.

  4. Misbehavior is often hard to punish immediately -- when punishment would be most effective.

  5. Punishment does not tell recipient what they should be doing instead of misbehaving.

  6. If punishment is seen as attention getting by the punished, then it may be actually perceived as a reinforcement!

...Alternatives to Punishment

 


LINKS About the Corporal Punishment Controversy




The Problem with Reward [p.283]

INTRODUCTION

Rewarding something that is inherently pleasurable can screw it up.

KEY CONCEPTS EXPLAINED

...Extrinsic reinforcers


...Intrinsic reinforcers

GLOSSARY

extrinsic reinforcers  

intrinsic reinforcers  


LINKS About Intrinsic Rewards

  the right and wrong way of giving children rewards.

Next Topic - Social Learning Theories.....................................Chapter Contents