The Study Of Operant Learning

944 WordsJul 29, 20164 Pages
The study of operant learning has illustrated the nature of the relationship between behaviour and consequence, namely that behaviour is strengthened or weakened by it 's consequences (Skinner, 1963). Furthermore, Skinner (1963) referred to reinforcement as the strengthening of a behaviour due to it 's consequence and that reinforcement increases the probability that a similar behaviour will occur again in the future. Indeed, a single reinforcement is enough to warrant the strengthening of a behaviour (Iverson, 1992). In contrast, extinction is the reduction of the frequency of a behaviour when previously reinforced behaviour is no longer followed by reinforcement (Chance, 2014). Over a course of extinction sessions, the behaviour will decline and be extinguished (Chance, 2014). How resistant behaviour is to extinction is effected by previous reinforcement history, and this will be discussed in the context of the application of extinction to modify maladaptive or undesirable behaviors. Bedtime non-compliance is a common childhood behaviour problem that is characterised by whining, crying, and tantrums approaching bedtime, refusal to go to bed and frequent night waking (Ortiz & McCormick, 2007). This behavioural response in children is maintained or strengthened by the presence of a reinforcer, a parent behavioural response such as 'giving in ', remaining with the child till they fall asleep or giving attention to the child (Robinson & Sheridan, 2000). Extinction
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