• Shaping involves a calculated reinforcement of a “target behavior”: it uses operant conditioning principles to train a subject by rewarding proper behavior and discouraging improper behavior.
• The method requires that the subject perform behaviors that at first merely resemble the target behavior; through reinforcement, these behaviors are gradually changed or “shaped” to encourage the target behavior itself.
• Skinner’s early experiments in operant conditioning involved the shaping of rats’ behavior, so they learned to press a lever and receive a food reward.
• Reinforcement refers to any consequence that increases the likelihood of a particular behavioral response; ” punishment ” refers to a consequence that decreases the likelihood of this response.
• Both reinforcement and punishment can be positive or negative. In operant conditioning, positive means you are adding something and negative means you are taking something away.
• Reinforcers can be either primary (linked unconditionally to a behavior) or secondary (requiring deliberate or conditioned linkage to a specific behavior).
• A reinforcement schedule is a tool in operant conditioning that allows the trainer to control the timing and frequency of reinforcement in order to elicit a target behavior.
• Different schedules (fixed-interval, variable-interval, fixed-ratio, and variable-ratio) have different advantages and respond differently to extinction.
• Avoidance learning is the process by which an individual learns a behavior or response to avoid a stressful or unpleasant situation.
punishment: the act or process of imposing and/or applying a sanction for an undesired behavior when conditioning toward the desired behavior
aversive: tending to repel, causing avoidance (of a situation, a behavior, an item, etc.)
successive approximation: an increasingly accurate estimate of a response desired by a trainer
shaping: a method of positive reinforcement of behavior patterns in operant conditioning
latency: the delay between a stimulus and the response it triggers in an organism
extinction: when a behavior ceases because it is no longer reinforced
interval: a period of time
ratio: a number representing a comparison between two things
operant conditioning: a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment
B.F. Skinner: developed the theory of operant conditioning
reinforcement: increasing a behavior
discriminating stimulus: stimulus presented before a reinforcer/punishment, to signal availability and increase probability of responding
avoidance learning: the process by which an individual learns a behavior or response to avoid a stressful or unpleasant situation.