Operant Conditioning

Description of the Strategy

Prior to the 1930s, behavioral psychology focused on the study of behaviors reliably elicited by unconditioned stimuli. In contrast to the study of classical (respondent) conditioning, in which an organism (“involuntarily”) responds to its environment almost reflexively, the study of operant conditioning, in which an organism (“voluntarily”) emits a behavior or acts/ operates on its environment, proposed that consequences, or events following a behavior rather than antecedent eliciting events, change the probability of that behavioral occurrence. Popularized by the research and publications of B. F. Skinner, operant conditioning works according to a three-term contingency involving the following terms: (1) the circumstances under which the organism acts (stimulus/antecedent), (2) the emitted behavior, and (3) the consequences of the emitted behavior. ...

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