Operant & Cognitive Approaches 

    Operant Conditioning a.k.a. instrumental conditioning - conditioning in which an operant response 
is brought under stimulus control by virtue of presenting reinforcement contingent upon the occurrence 
of the operant response. Operant conditioning pairs a response with a reinforcement in discrete trials; 
reinforcement occurs only after the response is given.
   Thorndike's law of effect - Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are 
accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal will, other things being equal, be more 
firmly connected with the situation, so that, when it recurs, they will be more likely to recur; those which 
are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort to the animal will, other things being equal, have their 
connections with that situation weakened, so that, when it recurs, they will be less likely to occur. The 
greater the satisfaction or discomfort, the greater the strengthening or weakening of the bond.

    Skinner developed the theory of "operant conditioning," the idea that we behave the way we do 
because this kind of behavior has had certain consequences in the past.

    Shaping is a term used in animal psychology to describe a process in which an animal is trained to 
perform a complex behavior in stages. In shaping the importance of immediate reinforcement is obvious.

   Superstitious behavior occurs when behavior is reinforced by accident.


Reinforcement - an act performed to strengthen approved behavior.

     Positive reinforcement - presentation of a stimulus to increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur again.
     Negative reinforcement - removal of a stimulus to increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur again.

Punishment - an act performed to decrease unapproved behavior.

     Positive punishment - eg. giving a spanking to decrease unapproved behavior.
     Negative punishment - eg. taking away an allowance to decrease unapproved behavior.

              Primary reinforcer: something innately satisfying.
                    Secondary reinforcer: a learned satisfaction.

Schedules of Reinforcement

Continuous reinforcement - System of behavior modification in which certain behaviors are always rewarded 
or punished, leading to rapid learning of desired responses. Used in the initial stages of operant conditioning.

Partial reinforcement schedules (effective in maintaining behavior over the long run):

Fixed-ratio schedules are when the organism receives reinforcement at a fixed rate, according to the number 
of responses emitted.
Fixed-interval schedules are when the organism receives rewards for its responses only after a fixed amount of 
time. For example, reinforcement may be introduced every 3 minutes, regardless of the number of responses
A variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement is when an organism receives a reward for a certain percentage of 
behaviors that are emitted, but this percentage is not fixed
A variable-interval schedule of reinforcement is an operant conditioning procedure in which an organism 
receives a reward for its responses after an amount of time that is not constant." 
More Concepts


    -  occurs when an animal or a person emits the same response to similar stimuli.
    -  is the tendency for a stimulus similar to the original conditioned stimulus to elicit a response similar to 
the conditioned response.


    -  occurs during classical conditioning when an organism learns to make a particular response to some 
stimuli but not to others.

   -  refers to a procedure in which a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned 
   -  occurs when the conditioned stimulus tends to no longer elicit the conditioned response.
            Spontaneous Recovery
   -  is the tendency for the conditioned response to reappear after being extinguished, even though there have 
been no further conditioning trials.
Cognitive Conditioning (Learning)

    Edward Tolman - The cognitive map is a mental representation in the brain of the layout of the environment 
& its features.

    Albert Bandura - The observational learning hypothesis is supported by the classic Bobo Doll experiment.

Bandura's Social Cognitive Learning; four processes:

  The observer must pay ATTENTION.
       The observer must store the information in MEMORY.
           The observer then must be able to use the stored knowledge in IMITATION.
              The observer must have the MOTIVATION to do so.

New  Insight learning (Kohler), (the "ah ha" experience) is another example of cognitive learning.
                 Topics in Psychology
                      Robert C. Gates