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Overview

The universe is a school where everyone is a teacher and a student at


the same time. The world, and all that it has, provides the reinforcement for
which we are pushed and motivated to do or not to do something about
our lives.
We will discuss in this report the principles and applications of the
different psychological and scientific explanations of learning. Classical
Conditioning, which is simple learning facilitated by a stimulus that produces
a response through contingency, was discussed by the group before us under
Chapter 6.1. We, on the other hand, are to introduce the basics about
Operant Conditioning, which is inducing learning through reinforcements and
punishments that either increase or decrease the likelihood of behavior
occurring again.
Throughout the discussion, we will provide examples that could provide
a clear picture of how learning through operant conditioning happens. What
reinforcements are, how they work, and the effects of their schedules are
some of the basic ideas that constitute operant conditioning.
In line with this, we will associate the cognitive perspective of learning
to these conditioning techniques, like latent learning and observational
learning, and how they apply practically. As we move on to the latter part of
our report, the effects of violence in the media to the behavior of a viewer,
especially children, will be enumerated together with the factors that cause
this influence.
By the end of the report, the audience should have a more vivid insight
on the difference between classical and operant conditioning and how each
becomes useful in all areas of our lives. The audience should have learned,
so to speak, to analyze a mundane situation and view it in terms of stimulus,
response and reinforcements so as to be able to tell apart Operant and
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Classical Conditioning and know how even the most complex idea or
behavior could be learned.

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Part I
Sec. 1 Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery in Operant Condition
Extinction of learned responses occurs when operant behavior is repeatedly
performed without reinforcement, or in other words, when reinforcement ends.
However, the ease with which a behavior is extinguished varies according to several
factors: the strength of the original learning, the variety of settings in which learning
takes place, and the schedule of reinforcement used during conditioning. Especially
hard to extinguish is behavior learned through punishment rather than
reinforcement.
However, after a while, this extinguished response may reappear without
retraining in a process called spontaneous recovery. Extinction is complete when the
subject no longer produces the conditioned response.
Sec. 2 Reinforces Versus Rewards and Punishments

Reinforcement:
Positive
Negative
Punishment:
Positive
Negative

Stimulus

Adding/Removing

Goal

Positive
Negative

Adding
Removing

Increase behavior
Increase behavior

Negative
Positive

Adding
Removing

Decrease behavior
Decrease behavior

Reinforcement is used to help increase the probability that a specific behavior


will occur in the future by delivering a stimulus immediately after a
response/behavior is exhibited.
Kinds of Reinforcements:
Positive reinforcement works by presenting a motivating/reinforcing stimulus to
the person after the desired behavior is exhibited, making the behavior more
likely to happen in the future.
o Ex. A mother gives her daughter additional allowance (positive stimulus) if
she becomes a Deans Lister (positive behavior).
Negative reinforcement occurs when a certain stimulus (usually an aversive
stimulus) is removed after a particular behavior is exhibited. The likelihood of the
particular behavior occurring again in the future is increased because of
removing/avoiding the negative consequence.
o Ex. A mother removes the no-going-out policy (negative stimulus) off her
daughter if she becomes a Deans Lister (positive behavior).
Punishment is a process by which a consequence immediately follows a
behavior which decreases the future frequency of that behavior. Like reinforcement,
a stimulus can be added (positive punishment) or removed (negative punishment).

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Kinds of Punishment

Positive punishment works by presenting a negative consequence after an


undesired behavior is exhibited, making the behavior less likely to happen in the
future.
o Ex. A mother reprimanded her daughter (negative stimulus) because she
did not become a Deans Lister (negative behavior).

Negative punishment happens when a certain desired stimulus is removed after


a particular undesired behavior is exhibited, resulting in the behavior happening
less often in the future. The following are some examples of negative
punishment:
o Ex. A mother does not allow her daughter to go to the mall (negative
stimulus) because she did not become a Deans Lister (negative
behavior).

Rewards are pleasant stimuli that increase the frequency of the behavior they
follow. NOTE: All rewards are positive reinforcements but not all positive
reinforcements are rewards.
Sec.3 Discriminative Stimuli
It is the stimulus that indicates that reinforcement is available. In the case of
a student, a quiz, which serves as a source of grades, may serve as a discriminative
stimulus. That is, a student will study if he anticipates a quiz and wont study if he
doesnt.
Sec. 4 Schedules of Reinforcement
A continuous reinforcement is a schedule of reinforcement in which every
correct response is reinforced. An example is when you eat every time you are
hungry which makes you satisfied. A partial reinforcement is one of several
schedules in which not every correct response is reinforced like in slot machines and
gambling or in bringing an umbrella. It is not in every instance when you drop a coin
in a slot machine that you win nor when you bring an umbrella does it rain.
Responses that have been maintained by partial reinforcement are more
resistant to extinction than responses that have been maintained by continuous
reinforcement.
Sec. 5 Interval Schedules and Ratio Schedules

Intervals:
Fixed
Variable

Frequency

Intensity

Steadiness

Constant time
between
Inconstant time
between

Intense

Less Steady

Less Intense

Steady

Ratios:
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Fixed

Variable

Constant number
of correct
responses
Inconstant
number of correct
responses

Less Intense

Less Steady

Intense

Steady

Fixed interval schedule is a schedule in which a fixed amount of time must


elapse between the previous and subsequent times that reinforcement is
available.
Variable interval schedule is a schedule in which a variable amount must
elapse between the previous and subsequent times that reinforcement is
available.
Fixed ratio schedule is a schedule in which reinforcement is provided after a
fixed number of correct responses.
Variable ratio schedule is a schedule in which reinforcement is provided after
a variable number of correct responses.

Sec. 6 Shaping
It is a procedure for teaching complex behaviors that at first reinforces
approximations of the target behavior and successive approximations of the goal in
the end. It is just like letting a child learn how to read. It is only just to give a pat on
a back for his attempt even if he stammers. However, as he is expected to progress,
it is also appropriate to correct his mistakes as to lessen their occurrences until such
time that he can read a straight sentence, or even a paragraph, without errors.
Sec. 7 Applications of Operant Conditioning

Biofeedback

Training treatment technique in which people are trained to


improve their health by using signals from their own bodies. In the medical
aspect of it, physical therapists use biofeedback to help stroke victims regain
movement in paralyzed muscles. Psychologists can also use it to help tense
and anxious clients learn to relax. Specialists in many different fields use
biofeedback to help their patients cope with pain. In the practical aspect of it,
individuals can use the feedback or information about their body to improve
themselves.

Behavior Modification in the Classroom: Accentuating the Positive


In a classroom setting, teachers are traditionally expected to suppress bad
behavior through punishments and treat good behavior as an ordinary act
from students, therefore ignoring them. However, studies show that
reprimanding students is rendered ineffective as it hurts the students ego
and ironically encourage worse behavior. It is recommended that teachers
use the reverse of this psychology, that is, to reward and reinforce good
behavior and ignore bad behavior. Nonetheless, necessary attention must be
given if there is an excessive bad behavior displayed in the class.

Programmed Learning: Step By Step


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This method assumes that any complex tasks involving conceptual learning
as well as motor skills can be broken down into a number of small steps.
These steps can be shaped individually and then combined in sequence to
form the correct behavioral chain. For this, we present again the example of
teaching a child how to read. A child, who is in grade 1 or preparatory grade,
may find words as simple as black or glad to be letters in groups with no
meaning. To make this seemingly complex task easy for the child, the teacher
can first teach the sounds of vowels, then of consonants, and then of
consonant blends that correspond to each character. After which, she can
teach the child to combine these sounds to eventually read the written word.
He may be able to go with something like bl, a, k or gl, a, d, until
he can say altogether black and glad.
PART II
Sec. 1 Cognitive Factors in Learning
How are classical conditioning, operant conditioning and cognitive
perspective distinguished from one another?
Classical conditioning refers to how animals and humans determine the
relationship between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus, thereby
learning how to respond to such.
Operant conditioning is a means of learning that uses reinforcements and
punishments.
The cognitive perspective of learning describes and explains additional
findings in the psychology of learning. In addition to concepts such as associations
and reinforcements in the two aforementioned types of conditioning, cognitive
psychologists use concepts such as mental structures, schemas, templates and
information processing. They see people as searching for information, weighing
evidence and making decisions.
Sec. 2 Latent Learning: Forming Cognitive Maps
Early experiments by Tolman and other psychologists demonstrated that
learning takes place even before the subject reaches the goal and occurs whether
or not the learner is reinforced. Tolman proposed the concept of latent learning,
which maintains that subjects store up knowledge even if this knowledge is not
reflected in their current behavior because it is not elicited by reinforcements. Later
research suggested that latent learning is stored as a mental image, or cognitive
map. When the proper time comes, the learner calls up this map and puts it to use.
Sec. 3 Contingency Theory
There are two meanings of contingency. One is unpredictability and the other means
relationship of one occurrence with the other. The "if-then" relationship between
conditioned stimuli and unconditioned stimuli in classical conditioning or between
responses and reinforcements in operant conditioning is called a contingency.
Contingencies in Classical Conditioning
Robert Rescorla has demonstrated that classical conditioning requires more than
merely presenting an unconditioned stimulus and a conditioned stimulus together in
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time. His work shows that for conditioning to occur, a conditioned stimulus must
provide information about the unconditioned stimulusthat is, there must be a CS
US contingency. Blocking can occur when prior conditioning prevents conditioning to
a second stimulus, even when the two stimuli are presented simultaneously.

Contingencies in Operant Conditioning


In operant conditioning, response contingencies are usually referred to as schedules
of reinforcement. We rarely receive reinforcement every time we do something.
Interestingly, it turns out that partial reinforcement, in which rewards are given for
some but not for all correct responses results in behavior that persists longer
than that learned by continuous reinforcement. The schedule of reinforcement
specifies when reinforcement will be delivered. Reinforcements may be provided on
the basis of time since the last reinforcement (the interval between reinforcements).
Or reinforcement may depend on the number of correct responses since the last
reinforcement (the ratio of reinforcement per correct response).

Sec. 4 Observational Learning


It is the acquisition of knowledge and skills through the observation of others
who are primarily called models, rather than by means of direct experience. Models
are those organisms that engage in a response which is then imitated by another
organism. It is not mechanically acquired through reinforcement. We can learn
through observation without engaging in overt responses at all.
PART III
Sec. 1 Violence in the Media and Aggression; Effects of Violence in the Media
It is undeniable that the media is a very powerful and influential part of our
society. It has been helpful most often by giving us information about what we need
to know about almost everything.
However, the media also has the tendency to induce bad or negative
information to viewers. Games like Grand Theft Auto or Resident Evil are only two of
so many games that can turn violence and crimes into normal parts of their lives,
even only in games. Violence can also be seen in movies, television shows and even
cartoons. How many times did Tommy try to eat Jerry? How many times had Jerry
play pranks on Tommy. Explosions, sawing, crashing, hitting with rackets, and many
more these are forms of violence. The media, however, can make violence look or
seem
less
damaging.
There had been a study by Bandura, Ross and Ross where one group of
preschool children were made to watch a film of an adult model hitting and kicking
an inflated Bobo doll while another group saw an aggression-free film. Both groups
were then left alone with the same doll, as hidden observers then recorded their
behavior. The children who had observed the aggressive model showed significantly
more aggressive behavior toward the doll themselves.
Sec. 2 Consensus on the Effects of Violence in the Media
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There are a number of ways in which depictions of violence make such a


contribution:
Observational Learning. Children learn from observation and they tend to
behave in situations like those they have observed, specifically aggressive
behavior. Frequent watching may induce more observational learning.
Disinhibition. Media characters normally get away for their aggressive
behavior, which removes the idea of punishment, the primary inhibitor of
such behavior.
Increase Arousal. Viewers emotional arousal increases with media violence
and aggressive video games. We are more likely to be aggressive when we
are aroused.
Priming of Aggressive Thoughts and Memories. Media violence triggers
aggressive ideas and memories.
Habituation. It is when we become used to or habituated to repeated stimuli.
Viewers sensitivity to real violence may decrease when we are repeatedly
exposed to television violence.
Other factors for Imitating Media Violence:
Gender Roles
Possible Biological differences
History of juvenile delinquency
Psychological Factors
The Family
Sec. 3 Teaching Children Not to Imitate Media Violence
Parents and educators can do many things to tone down the impact of media
violence. Children who watch violent shows may act less aggressively when they
are informed that:
The violent behavior they observe in the media does not represent the
behavior of most people.
The apparently aggressive behaviors they watch are not real.
Most people resolve conflicts by nonviolent means.
The real life consequences of violence are harmful to the victim and often to
the aggressor.
If children consider violence to be inappropriate for them, they would be less
likely to act aggressively even when they have acquired aggressive skills
from exposure to the media or other sources.

References:
Cherry, K. Introduction to Operant Conditioning. About.com-Psychology.
Prentice-Hall Inc. (2002). Chapter 5: Learning. Cwx.prenhall.com.
Prince, K. (2013, Feb 5). Reinforcement and Positive/Negative Punishment. Bcotb.com.

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Reynolds, G.S. (1975) A primer of operant conditioning. (Rev Ed). Oxford, England: Scott,
Foresman, p55.
Runck, B. (1983). What is Biofeedback?. Psychotherapy.com.
Spencer, R. A. (2012) Psychology. (2nd Ed). Pasig City, Philippines: Cengage Learning Asia Pte
Ltd, 170-179.

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