Operant Conditioning

Description of the Strategy

Operant conditioning is based on the premise that behavior is a function of its consequences. Unlike Pavlov, who took a stimulus-response (S-R) approach, Skinner took a response-stimulus (R-S) approach. He theorized that consequences of behavior at time T1 modify probability of emitting the same or similar behavior in the same or similar circumstances at time T2. Skinner suggested that behavior evolves ontogenetically through variation and selection in a manner rather parallel to how Darwin viewed organisms to evolve phylogenetically. The strategy in applying operant conditioning concerns the therapeutic direction of this ontogenetic evolutionary process and entails the following steps.

The first step is to identify a target behavior that is central to the client's complaint. This step is sometimes ...

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