Instrumental Conditioning Flashcards Preview

Psychology > Instrumental Conditioning > Flashcards

Flashcards in Instrumental Conditioning Deck (34):

instrumental Conditioning

the learning of a contingency between a behaviour and its consequences



cats in a puzzle box. He focused on overt behaviour rather than on unmeasurable mental processes. He predicted that the cat would be able to escape immediately once it randomly discovered the solution, but it turned out that there was never a distinct "ah-hah!" moment, and improvement was gradual.


Stamping In

Random behaviours that are followed by the favourable consequences are performed more frequently


Stamping Out

Random behaviours with negative or no consequences are performed less frequently


Law of Effect

behaviours with positive consequences are stamped in, those with negative consequences are stamped out. Leads to refinement and the learning of a contingency between good behaviours and rewards.


Four Consequences

Presentation of a Positive reinforcer,
Removal of a positive reinforcer,
Presentation of a negative reinforcer
Removal of a negative reinforcer



any stimulus which, when presented after a response, leads to a change in the rate of that response.


Reward Training/Positive Reinforcement

involves the presentation of a positive reinforcer following a response. Increases the frequency of the behaviour.


Punishment Training/Positive Punishment

involves the presentation of a negative reinforcer to decrease undesired behaviour. Can raise ethical concerns in the real world and the authority can become a CS.


Omission Training/Negative Punishment

involves the removal of a positive reinforcer in order to decrease undesired behaviour. Leads to avoidance.


Punishment vs. Omission

Both lead to a decrease in undesired behaviour, but each do so by different means. The removal of a positive reinforcer IS NOT the same as the presentation of a negative reinforcer. Punishment has a more specific meaning in instrumental conditioning than in everyday life.


Escape Training/Negative Reinforcement

involves the removal of a negative reinforcer to increase desired behaviour. The reinforcer is constantly being presented and the subject wants to have it removed.


Consequence Timing

any type of instrumental conditioning occurs best when the consequence is presented immediately after response.


Responding Rate

dependent on subject, complexity of behaviour, and type of reinforcement used.



Over time, a contingency is learned when the behaviour to response pattern is repeated. The subject isn't taught anything, it just learned it eventually. Rewards are spontaneous through correct action.


Shaping by Successive Approximation/Chaining

A complex behaviour van be organized into smaller steps which gradually build up to the full response that we hope to condition through reward training. Used for behaviours that the organism wouldn't be able to do on its own.


Discriminative Stimulus (SD/S+)

signals when a contingency between a particular response and reinforcement is on.


S-Delta (S-)

a cue which indicates when the contingent relationship is not valid



a response can be elicited by cues that are similar to the original CS.



in a controlled environment, an experimenter can control and train the contingencies with S+ and S-



the association between a behaviour and an instrumental outcome can be lost


CS versus SD

CS is involuntary and automatically elicits a response.
SD does not reflexively elicit a response. Rather, it signals the occasion for a voluntary response by signalling when the response-reinforcer-outcome relationship is valid.


Continuous Reinforcement

response leads to a reinforcer on every single trial.


Partial Reinforcement Schedules

reinforcers for a portion of correct responses and is more effective than continuous schedules.
Fixed Ratio
Variable Ratio
Fixed Interval
Variable Interval


Ratio Schedule

based on number os responses which determines when reinforcement is given


Interval Schedule

based on time since last response was reinforced


Fixed Ratio

reinforcement is delivered after a certain number of responses (EX: every five times.)


Variable Ratio

reinforcement is delivered after some random number of responses around a characteristic mean.


Higher Response Rates

caused by more frequent/faster reinforcement rates.


Fixed Interval

reinforcement is delivered following the first response after a set interval time. Following reinforcement, responding drops then slowly begins peaking up again before schedule period is delivered following a response.


Variable Interval

reinforcement can be received at any time, though you do have an idea of how often reinforcement is likely to occur.


Extinction and Reinforcement schedules

Partial: when reinforcement stops occurring, abrupt change is not immediately obvious
Continuous: when reinforcement stops occurring, learner is aware of abrupt change and will decrease responding.


Overjustification Effect

displays how changes in reinforcement (newly introduced reward for a previously unrewarded task) can alter the individual's perception of that task. A task that was previously viewed as having intrinsic value now becomes viewed as work with extrinsic value.


Observational Learning

associative learning involves direct experience and often leads to imitation or avoidance behaviours when appropriate, especially in unfamiliar situations.