Chapter 12 - Skinner Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 12 - Skinner Deck (23):

Respondent behaviour

Responses made to or elicited by specific environmental stimuli (I.e. knee jerk)



The act of strengthening a response by adding a reward, thus increasing the likelihood that the response will be repeated



The process of eliminating a behaviour by withholding reinforcement


Operant behaviour

Behaviour emitted spontaneously or voluntarily that operates on the environment to change it


Operant conditioning

The procedure by which a change in the consequences of a response will affect the rate at which the response occurs (behaviour under control of reinforcers)


Reinforcement schedules

Patterns or rates of providing or withholding reinforcers:
- fixed interval
- fixed ratio
- variable interval
- variable ratio

(I.e reinforcement doesn’t occur every time)



Substitution of one stimulus for another


Fixed interval (schedule of reinforcement)

Reinforcer following a fixed amount of time after response

Example: buy 9 cups of coffee and get the 10th for free


Fixed ratio (schedules of reinforcement)

Reinforcer following a fixed number of responses

Example: being paid every 2nd week, yet still go to work every day because you know the pay is coming - showing up allows you to be paid at the end of the pay period


Variable interval (schedules of reinforcement)

Reinforcer after unpredictable amount of time

Example: fishing - unpredictable time to catch a fish, if at all


Variable ratio (schedules of reinforcement)

Reinforcer after unpredictable number of responses (based on an average number of responses between reinforcers, but there is great variability around that average)

Example: gambling


Successive approximation

An explanation for the acquisition of complex behaviour. Behaviour such as learning to speak will be reinforced only as it comes to approximate or approach the final desired behaviour

Behaviour that is closer and closer to the desired behaviour is rewarded until only the desired behaviour will elicit a reward


Superstitious behaviour

Persistent behaviour that has a coincidental and not a functional relationship to the reinforcement received (but behaviour is continued even when reinforcement does not continue)



The ability to exert control over the variables that determine our behaviour. Some control is exerted over external variables through self-control techniques such as:

- stimulus avoidance
- self-administered satiation
- aversive stimulation
- self-reinforcement


Stimulus avoidance

Removing oneself from an external variable

Example: alcoholic removing the liquor from their house


Self-administered satiation

Overdoing undesirable behaviour

Example: smoker chain-smoking to make themselves sick so they will be averse to it and this will help them quit


Aversive stimulation

Making negative consequences for oneself

Example: snapping an elastic band on your wrist when having unwanted thought = one will find they will have less of these unwanted thoughts



Rewarding oneself and setting goals

Example: “if I finish this paper tonight, I will allow myself to watch a movie tomorrow night”


Behaviour modification

A form of therapy that applies the principles of reinforcement to bring about desired behavioural changes (I.e. token economy)


Token economy

A behaviour-modification technique in which tokens, which can be exchanged for valued objects or privileges, are awarded for desirable behaviours



The application of an aversive stimulus following a response in an effort to decrease the likelihood that the response will recur


Negative reinforcement

The strengthening of a response by the removal of an aversive stimulus (I.e. loud noise stops when the subject emits the desired response)


Functional analysis

An approach to the study of behaviour that involves assessing the frequency of behaviour, the situation in which it occurs, and the reinforcers associated with it.