A type of learning in which the probability of a behavior recurring is increased or decreased by the consequences that follow upon occurrence of the behavior. The three-term contingency represents the simplest conceptual model of operant conditioning (Holland & Skinner, 1961).
Operant conditioning applies many techniques and procedures first investigated by E. L. Thorndike (1898), but was later refined and extended by B. F. Skinner (1938). Although operant conditioning is built on the classical conditioning work of Ivan Pavlov (1927), it is distinguished from classical conditioning in that operant conditioning deals with the modification of “voluntary” (operant) behavior. The operant is behavior that acts on the environment to produce a consequence, which is meted out by the environment in response to the operant. This response encourages the operant to either repeat or cease the behavior. Operant conditioning techniques are...
References and Readings
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