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Using Operant Reinforcers to Change a Bad Habit

How could you use operant conditioning to change a bad habit? Also, please help me to understand the difference between negative reinforcers and punishment as they relate to operant conditioning.

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Operant conditioning is defined as using rewards to reinforce a voluntary behavior or using consequences to modify a voluntary behavior. This is different than classical conditioning because it requires action on the part of the person whose behavior is being modified. Psychologist B.F. Skinner was most noted for studying the conditioning of operant behaviors. Skinner designed an experiment using rats, in which he would place the rat into a box. Inside the box there was a lever that released food when pressed. The rats quickly learned that pressing the lever gave the reward of food. Pressing the lever was the operant behavior and the food was the positive reinforcer, which increased the behavior. ...

Solution Summary

In this post, I give the definition and a brief history of operant conditioning. Using the operant conditioning model, I demonstrate how a person could modify the bad habit of always arriving late to an appointment. I also discuss positive and negative reinforcers and punishment in relation to operant conditioning.