Thesis: Learning and Behavior Analysis

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Learning and Behavioral Analysis

Learning & Behavior Analysis

Provide an example of classical extinction and an example of operant extinction. Distinguish between the two.

Classical extinction occurs purely by withdrawing the reinforcing stimulus. For example, failing to ever praise a dog or reward it with food after 'shaking hands' on cue may eventually result in the animal refusing to perform the trick. Operant extinction can also occur without the stimulus being given that provoked the behavior. A rat trained to push a lever on a dispenser for seeds that no longer dispenses food will soon fail to push the lever. Operant conditioning can also be used to condition an opposing behavior to extinction. Using another way of dispensing food, like giving the rat food when it pushes another button to bring food down an alternate shoot will extinguish the lever-pushing.

You're trying to teach a child (or a pet) a new task. You're contemplating intermittent and continuous schedules of reinforcement. How will you proceed and why?

Continuous schedules of reinforcement are needed to teach a task quickly, but should be switched to intermittent schedules, once the behavior is adopted with some regularity. Otherwise, the behavior will be quickly 'de-conditioned' if no reinforcement is given, for example, if the owner cannot reward the pet when it goes to the bathroom with a treat one day or the child with a toy when the child gets an 'A.'

Describe a punishment procedure that a parent may use with his/her child. Behaviorally, why might such a procedure be ineffective? How would you assess its effectiveness?

The punishment should be swift, should be in proportion to the offense, and cause real 'hurt' to the child. For example, if a child steals Halloween candy from his or her brother's 'stash,' the child should be forced to give some of his or her candy to the sibling, and in greater proportion to what was stolen, given that will cause more 'pain,' since rather than gaining from the action, the child will have lost. An ineffective punishment would be merely telling the child 'no,' or forcing the child to give the same amount of candy back to the brother, as nothing will have been lost, in terms of candy, and even if the child has the same amount of candy as he or she started with, he or she will also have the glee of outwitting the brother.

Provide an example of a situation where overshadowing prevented you from learning something.

Overshadowing is when another stimulus interferes with the effectiveness of the stimulus used in classical conditioning. For example, a teacher may tell the class that if they perform well on the exam, everyone will get 'As' for the semester. However, for some of the children (such as myself, at one point), knowing that they will be taunted for being a 'nerd' if they get an a but praised as being 'one of us' by the 'cool kids' may be the more effective stimulus, and overshadow the reward of getting the a for the semester and the teacher's approval.

Provide an example of a stimulus that became a conditioned reinforcer or a conditioned punisher and the real-life process through which it happened (do not diagram).

When I was young, I always loved getting a surprise 'snow day' from school. One sign that it might be a snow day was, when on days that it had snowed and my mother was determining whether school was cancelled or now, she would turn on the radio, and so I would love waking up to the sound of the radio being turned on during the winter. Even today, I love waking up to the sound of the radio when it is cold outside, and it is always easier to get up… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Learning and Behavior Analysis.  (2008, December 18).  Retrieved August 17, 2019, from

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"Learning and Behavior Analysis."  18 December 2008.  Web.  17 August 2019. <>.

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"Learning and Behavior Analysis."  December 18, 2008.  Accessed August 17, 2019.