From High School to College

641 WordsFeb 4, 20183 Pages
Background: “My Case Study”: It had been awhile since I had watched it, but a few years ago I watched an episode of the Big Bang Theory titled The Gothowitz Deviation that I thought was absolutely hilarious (as are all of them). In this particular episode, Sheldon begins feeding Penny chocolates whenever she behaves well. He is positively reinforcing her good behavior, and goes on to say that he is applying mild operant conditioning. Leonard is furious at this, and tells Sheldon he is forbidden from continuing to do this to Penny. Sheldon refuses and squirts Leonard in the face with a squirt bottle, a form of negative reinforcement (Aronsohn, Rosenstock, & Cendrowski, 2009). Sheldon’s conditioning of Penny seemed so absurd to me back then How could we, as complex humans, be susceptible to such mild conditioning? We are after all far more intelligent than other organisms, right? We may think we are above operant conditioning, but as B. F. Skinner believed, we can be trained to replicate desirable behaviors through positive reinforcement (Myers, 2013). According to Myers (2013) organisms are also most likely to be successfully reinforced by an act that they naturally perform, with the experimenter determining whether it is a beneficial behavior or a detrimental behavior. So it would seem that natural behaviors, when positively reinforced, create a lasting stimulus as long as repetition continues. Sometimes this method of operant conditioning can be beneficial, such as
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