operant conditioning

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Related to skinnerian conditioning: instrumental conditioning

conditioning

 [kon-dish´un-ing]
1. in physical medicine, improvement of physical health by a program of exercises; called also physical conditioning.
2. in psychology, a form of learning in which a response is elicited by a neutral stimulus which previously had been repeatedly presented in conjunction with the stimulus that originally elicited the response. Called also classical or respondent conditioning.

The concept had its beginnings in experimental techniques for the study of reflexes. The traditional procedure is based on the work of Ivan P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In this technique the experimental subject is a dog that is harnessed in a sound-shielded room. The neutral stimulus is the sound of a metronome or bell which occurs each time the dog is presented with food, and the response is the production of saliva by the dog. Eventually the sound of the bell or metronome produces salivation, even though the stimulus that originally elicited the response (the food) is no longer presented.

In the technique just described, the conditioned stimulus is the sound of the bell or metronome, and the conditioned response is the salivation that occurs when the sound is heard. The food, which was the original stimulus to salivation, is the unconditioned stimulus and the salivation that occurred when food was presented is the unconditioned response.

Reinforcement is said to take place when the conditioned stimulus is appropriately followed by the unconditioned stimulus. If the unconditioned stimulus is withheld during a series of trials, the procedure is called extinction because the frequency of the conditioned response will gradually decrease when the stimulus producing the response is no longer present. The process of extinction eventually results in a return of the preconditioning level of behavior.
aversive conditioning learning in which punishment or other unpleasant stimulation is used to associate negative feelings with an undesirable response.
classical conditioning conditioning (def. 2).
instrumental conditioning (operant conditioning) learning in which a particular response is elicited by a stimulus because that response produces desirable consequences (reward). It differs from classical conditioning in that the reinforcement takes place only after the subject performs a specific act that has been previously designated. If no unconditioned stimulus is used to bring about this act, the desired behavior is known as an operant. Once the behavior occurs with regularity the behavior may be called a conditioned response.

The traditional example of instrumental conditioning uses the Skinner box, named after B. F. Skinner, an American behavioral psychologist. The subject, a rat, is kept in the box and becomes conditioned to press a bar by being rewarded with food pellets each time its early random movements caused it to press against the bar.

The principles and techniques related to instrumental conditioning are used clinically in behavior therapy to help patients eliminate undesirable behavior and substitute for it newly learned behavior that is more appropriate and acceptable.
physical conditioning conditioning (def. 1).
respondent conditioning conditioning (def. 2).
work conditioning a physical exercise program designed to restore specific strength, flexibility, and endurance for return to work following injury, disease, or medically imposed rest; it may be part of a complete work hardening program when other aspects of functional restoration are required.

op·er·ant con·di·tion·ing

a type of conditioning developed by Skinner in which an experimenter waits for the target response (head scratching) to be conditioned to occur (emitted) spontaneously, immediately after which the organism is given a reinforcer reward; after this procedure is repeated many times, the frequency of emission of the targeted response will have significantly increased over its preexperiment base rate.
See also: schedules of reinforcement.

operant conditioning

n. Psychology
A learning process in which the likelihood of a specific behavior is increased or decreased through positive or negative reinforcement each time the behavior is exhibited, so that the subject comes to associate the pleasure or displeasure of the reinforcement with the behavior.

operant conditioning

a form of learning used in behavior therapy in which the person undergoing therapy is rewarded for the correct response and punished for the incorrect response. Also called instrumental conditioning, shaping.

op·er·ant con·di·tion·ing

(opĕr-ănt kŏn-dishŭn-ing)
Experiment in which an experimenter waits for the target response (head scratching) to be conditioned to occur (emitted) spontaneously, immediately after which the organism is given a reinforcer reward.

operant conditioning

A method of behaviour therapy in which a response is reinforced or suppressed, whenever it occurs, by immediate reward or punishment.

operant conditioning

a form of learning in animal behaviour where rewards and punishments are used to strengthen or weaken behaviour patterns. See TRIAL AND ERROR LEARNING.

Skinner,

Burrhus Frederic, U.S. psychologist, 1904-1990.
Skinner box - an experimental apparatus in which an animal presses a lever to obtain a reward or receive punishment.
skinnerian conditioning - an experimenter waits for the target response to be conditioned to occur spontaneously, immediately after which the organism is given a reinforcer reward. Synonym(s): operant conditioning

operant conditioning,

n a method of provoking a specific response by relating that response to a positive stimulus.

op·er·ant con·di·tion·ing

(opĕr-ănt kŏn-dishŭn-ing)
Type of conditioning in which an experimenter waits for target response (e.g., head scratching) to be conditioned to occur (emitted) spontaneously, immediately after which organism is given a reinforcer reward.

conditioning

1. learning; behavior modification in animals.
2. preparation of young cattle for shipment and entry into a feedlot. The procedure varies but usually includes vaccination against potential pathogens, prophylactic treatment for worms and lice, administration of vitamins and when necessary feeding of antibiotics and introduction to the kind of diet likely to be fed.
3. tenderizing of meat by careful storage at an appropriate temperature for a sufficiently long period.

aversive conditioning
behavior modification using an adverse stimulus in response to the inappropriate or undesirable behavior. Called also avoidance.
classical conditioning
a form of learning in which a response is elicited by a neutral stimulus which previously had been repeatedly presented in conjunction with the stimulus that originally elicited the response. Called also respondent conditioning, Pavlovian conditioning.
The concept had its beginnings in experimental techniques for the study of reflexes. The traditional procedure is based on the work of Ivan P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In this technique the experimental subject is a dog that is harnessed in a sound-shielded room. The neutral stimulus is the sound of a metronome or bell which occurs each time the dog is presented with food, and the response is the production of saliva by the dog. Eventually the sound of the bell or metronome produces salivation, even though the stimulus that originally elicited the response (the food) is no longer presented.
instrumental conditioning
takes place only after the subject performs a specific act that has been previously designated. The most common form of this conditioning uses an instrument such as a bar that must be pressed by the subject to achieve the delivery of food or other reward.
odor conditioning
classical conditioning to odors of essential oils is an element in aromatherapy.
operant conditioning
learning in which a particular response is elicited by a stimulus because that response produces desirable consequences (reward).
Pavlovian conditioning
see classical conditioning (above).
respondent conditioning
see classical conditioning (above).