One of the most widely known theories of human behaviour includes operant conditioning. To date, psychology is considered as one of the most interesting disciplines of all. This is probably because this discipline has helped answer some of the most perplexing questions about human behaviour. Coined by behaviourist B. F Skinner, operant conditioning is also popularly known as Skinnerian conditioning. Operant conditioning is a way of learning that is made possible using punishments and rewards for behaviour.
I can look back now and gently laugh at all the people who thought I had the perfect life. I was young, beautiful, and talented, but unbeknownst to them, I was terrorized by an undiagnosed debilitating mental illness. Having been properly diagnosed with PTSD at age 35, I know that there is not one aspect of my life that has gone untouched by this mental illness. My PTSD was triggered by several traumas, most importantly a sexual attack at knifepoint that left me thinking I would die. I would never be the same after that attack. For me there was no safe place in the world, not even my home.
Basic principles of learning are always operating and always influencing human behavior. Through them, we respectively learn to associate 1 stimuli in the environment, or 2 our own behaviors, with significant events, such as rewards and punishments. The two types of learning have been intensively studied because they have powerful effects on behavior, and because they provide methods that allow scientists to analyze learning processes rigorously. This module describes some of the most important things you need to know about classical and instrumental conditioning, and it illustrates some of the many ways they help us understand normal and disordered behavior in humans. The module concludes by introducing the concept of observational learning, which is a form of learning that is largely distinct from classical and operant conditioning.
Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior. For example, when a lab rat presses a blue button, he receives a food pellet as a reward, but when he presses the red button he receives a mild electric shock. As a result, he learns to press the blue button but avoid the red button. But operant conditioning is not just something that takes place in experimental settings while training lab animals; it also plays a powerful role in everyday learning.