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B.F. Skinner


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proposed by J.B. Watson, stated only directly observable events, such as stimuli and responses, should constitute the subject matter of psychology. Reference to all internal events, can and should be avoided. Accepted by Skinner
Radical Behaviorism
Behavior elicited by a known stimulus. * S-R conditioning, stimulus evokes response = involuntary behaviors
respondent behavior *Skinner did not emphasize respondent behavior in his theory
term used by Skinner to describe Pavlovian/ classical conditioning to emphasize the importance of the Stimulus
Type S conditioning
behavior that cannot be linked to to any known stimulus and therefore appears to be emitted rather than elicited. *R-S conditioning, response comes first, followed by a consequence = voluntary behaviors
operant behavior *Skinner emphasized this behavior in his theory
term Skinner used to describe the conditioning of operant behavior to emphasize the importance of the Response
Type R conditioning
small experimental chamber used to demonstrate operant conditioning
Skinner Box
the frequency of a response before the introduction of a reinforcer
operant level
operant conditioning is measured by the change in this
rate of responding
the Differential Reinforcement (some responses are reinforced and some are not) of Successive Approximations (the responses that are reinforced are those that are increasingly close to the response ultimately desired)
the weakening of an operant response by removing the reinforcer that had been following the response during acquisition (were reinforcing behavior, then stop reinforcing)the behavior decreases.. and when a response returns to its operant level, it has bee
an operant response made under one set of circumstances but not under others
discriminative operant
sets the occasion for reinforcement (respond now-reinforcer given...respond later-reinforcer will not be given) Ex: a light
discriminative stimulus d S
stimuli that are similar to the original d will S also tend to elicit responding in a similar manner
stimulus generalization
related to survival and require no previous learning to have significance (food,water, sex)
Primary reinforcers
objects or events that acquire reinforcing properties through their association with primary reinforcers
secondary reinforcers d *every S that precedes a primary reinforcer (such as food) will become a secondary reinforcer
situation in which one response brings the organism into contact with stimuli that: -reinforce the response that precedes its appearance and d -act as an S for the next response
reinforcement schedule that reinforces a response that is made only after a specified interval of time has passed *leads to a scallop shaped pattern of responding *slowest rate of responding
Fixed Interval (FI) Ex: bar press every 10 second interval gets reinforced FI(10)
reinforcement schedule that reinforces every Nth response *leads to a steady rate of responding characterized by post-reinforcement pauses
Fixed Ratio (FR) Ex: every 5th response the organism makes is reinforced (FR5)
schedule in which a certain average time interval must pass before response will be reinforced *could be 5 seconds, could be 15 seconds -time b/t each trial is different (3rd highest rate of responding)
Variable Interval (VI) Ex: pop quizzes
schedule where a certain average # of responses need to be made before reinforcement is obtained *highest rate of responding
Variable Ratio (VR) Ex: slot machines
partial reinforcement schedule lead to increased resistance to extinction
partial reinforcement effect
1-positive reinf\'t 2-negative reinf\'t 3-avoidance 4-punishment
reinforcement contingencies
presents the organism with something it wants
1-positive reinforcement
removes something the organism does not want.
2-negative reinforcement
a negative reinforcer that threatens an organism\'s survival (pain and O2 deprivation)
primary negative reinforcer
situation in which an organism must respond in a certain way to escape from an aversive stimulus.
escape contingency *all negative reinforcement involves an escape contingency
negative reinforcer that derives its reinforcing properties through its association with a primary negative reinforcer
secondary negative reinforcer
situation in which the organism can avoid an aversive stimulus by engaging in appropriate activity
3-Avoidance contingency Ex: opening umbrella-prevents getting wet
either removing a positive reinforcer or presenting a negative reinforcer
form of punishment where organism is denied access to positive reinforcers that are normally available in the situation
time out from reinforcement
a Skinnerian approach to therapy where desirable behavior is reinforced by tokens/points that can be traded for desirable objects
token economies *usually occurs in an institution (school or psychiatric hospital)
Criticisms of Skinnerian theory:
1-excessive generalization from non-human animals to humans 2-radical environmentalism 3-who controls the controllers??
Skinner\'s Utopian novel describing a society designed in accordance with the principle of operant conditioning
Walden Two
Contributions of Skinner to the Psych field:
1- Applied Value his theory has explains and synthesizes large amts of info, generates new info & can be used as a guide in solving practical problems 2-Scientifically rigorous explanation of human behavior: theory based on empirical data & all elements of his theory grew out from his lab research

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