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Discussion – Operant Conditioning

Discussion – Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is an approach that is believed to be used for learning. The method of learning using this approach is driven by rewards and punishment, which is supposed to be what can change a person’s behavior (Cooper et al., 2019). Therefore, through operant conditioning, a behavior can be strengthened through rewards to make it a habit. On the other hand, an unwanted behavior can be reduced or eliminated through punishment since punishments make it impossible for a behavior to reoccur. For instance, when a child is rewarded for working hard and getting good grades, the child is likely to work hard again and get good grades.

About B.F. Skinner

B.F. Skinner was a psychologist from the United States known for contributing to behaviorism as a theory. Skinner was also identified as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century (Lee et al., 2021). His contribution to the debate on free will makes him stand out by stating that conditions, not free will, often drive people. Skinner’s notable contributions are the operant conditioning process and the idea of reinforcements.

Beliefs about These Learning Types

The Operant Conditioning Theory is based on two major assumptions: the beliefs behind this theory. The first assumption is that humans behave in a certain way based on their environment. The second assumption is that the consequences that emerge after a behavior determine whether the person will repeat the behavior (Cooper et al., 2019). If the effects of a behavior are good, then a person will repeat the behavior. However, if the consequences are unpleasant, the individual will not repeat the action. This theory was also developed under the ideology that humans have a mind, so studying the human behavior that can be seen instead of the internal mental activities is essential. The method is also believed to have reinforces, which are the events in the environment that encourage a behavior to be done.

Using Operant Conditioning in Modern-Day Clinical Settings

Clinicians use operant conditioning to change undesirable behavior. The best example is when operant conditioning is used to change unwanted behavior, like controlling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Lee et al., 2021). In such a case, rewards and punishments are used to help the person change, and clinicians can also use the help of their patients to modify the rewards and punishments over time.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied behavior analysis. United Kingdom: Pearson.

Lee, I. S., Jung, W. M., Lee, Y. S., Wallraven, C., & Chae, Y. (2021). Operant and classical learning principles underlying mind-body interaction in pain modulation: A pilot fMRI study. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1663.


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Discussion - Operant Conditioning

Discussion – Operant Conditioning

For this discussion, you are to choose one of the two associative learning types (classical conditioning or operant conditioning) and discuss the historical figures (Ivan Pavlov or B.F. Skinner) theoretical contributions to the field of psychology and their beliefs about these learning types. Consider and discuss how these learning types are being used in modern-day clinical settings. must have two peer-reviewed journals as references (Need to be from 2017 and later).

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