Laboratory Exercise: Application of Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning has many uses in our everyday lives. Behavior modification uses mostly operant methods in an attempt to change undesirable behaviors such as bad habits. Similar principles are also used in behavioral therapy for a wide range of psychological disorders. Closer to home, operant conditioning can be used to modify the behavior of children and to train pets. In this exercise, we will look at how an animal can be trained by using reinforcement of desired behavior.
As you complete this exercise, consider the following:
- How can the principles of operant conditioning be applied to changing behavior?How does reinforcement contribute to behavior change?
By the end of this activity, you will be able to:
- Explain the principles and processes involved in operant conditioning
Complete the following exercise:
Design an experiment in which you teach a dog how to fetch.
Include shaping and continuous reinforcement as components of your
Next, train the dog to perform under the appropriate schedule of reinforcement. This exercise will allow you to use the operant conditioning principle of reinforcement to train a dog to fetch. By reinforcing the dog with food, you will be able to increase the desired behavior over time. This same technique can be used for training zoo/circus animals or for helping children to develop good habits.
After completing the experiment, view the brief video Pigeon Ping Pong (Links to an external site.)
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