Explain the functional analysis of behavior of operant conditioning.

Answer – According to Skinner, the functional analysis of behavior should be done in the context of two observable things-the operator is defined as a specific observable behavior and result which is located outside the organism in the environment. In Functional Analysis of Behavior of operant conditioning, Skinner’s main interest is in the ability to divide complex fragments of behavior into manageable small units.

Functional analysis of behavior of operant conditioning –

1 Shaping – Shaping is a very important concept in operational conditioning because it refers to the application of its principles of behavior modification. Shaping means revising the behavior of the organism at the desired end of the user. Shaping is not all at once, a skinner is called. It only happens through ‘gradual approximation’. Let’s say that you are trying to modify the behavior of your child by rewarding your desired response. Before the last desired behavior is applied, the child is usually busy in many other behaviors which can be considered as the steps of the last behavior. They are close to goal, but not every goal. If these approximate goal behaviors are rewarded, then there is a scaling facility.

2 Reinforcements in Operant Conditioning and its Schedules – It is defined as events that increase the likelihood of goal behavior, through their absence or presence. Reinforcement also plays an important role in terms of operational conditioning. However, reinforcement takes some different meaning in classical and operant conditioning. In classical conditioning, reinforcement is similar with unconditional stimulation.

3 Punishment – Like reinforcement, punishment can be positive or negative. Positive Punishment is the situation when any unpleasant thing presented as a result of any behavior reduces the possibility of that behavior. If you scold your child for her misbehavior, then it is a positive punishment. Negative punishment occurs when the return or removal of a pleasant thing as a result of a specific behavior reduces the possibility of that behavior. If you do not greet your child with your usual smiling manner because of her misbehavior, then it is a negative punishment.

4 Generalisation and Discrimination in Operant Conditioning – In the case of classical conditioning, you can normalize the behavior of your subject as similar to the air conditioned condition. You learned to wash your hands before taking food at home and you generalized it in school. In fact, if it was not so, then we would have to differentiate each operator conditioning for every context. The opposite of discrimination is the generalization. Through the manipulation of the results, we learn to respond to a stimulus that is rewarded / punished and not for the same stimulus that is not rewarded / punished.



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