Instrumental Conditioning

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Instrumental conditioning is useful in shaping responses and altering the individual’s behavior. It is a learning process that involves the subject linking behavior with consequences. Much of what individuals learn is the result of such associations. However, instrumental or operant learning suggest the association is deliberate. Terry (2009) recognizes Thorndike’s “Law of Effect” in explaining that the behavior exhibited by the individual is a result of the associations the individual forms between behavior and consequences. Instrumental conditioning requires the individual to emit the behavior voluntarily and the trainer then reinforces the behavior. This paper provides an example of how this process works. First, the selection and description of a learning situation facilitates the comparison and contrast of positive and negative reinforcements as well as punishment. Then, an evaluation of the forms of instrumental learning in relation to the selected learning situation provides understanding of instrumental conditioning in the learning process. Although limited by the types of behavior that might be shaped through conditioning, instrumental training is a viable training tool for some situations. The Learning Situation A piano teacher elects to specialize in teaching children diagnosed with learning delays related to ADHD. Her motivation stems from the knowledge of the inherent benefits associated with formal music training, the needs of these special children, and knowing that the benefits specific to formal music training are also specific to the needs of the child diagnosed with ADHD. Benefits of Music Academic skills may improve in math as the student learns beat, rhythm, and the scales Pattern recognition may also heig... ... middle of paper ... ...327057, Teachers College, Columbia University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 288-n/a. Retrieved from (304627194). Kwan, A. (2013). 6 benefits of music lessons. Retrieved from Ohnishi T, Matsuda H, Asada T, Aruga M, Hirakata M, Nishikawa M, Katoh A, & Imabayashi E, (2001). Functional anatomy of musical perception in musicians. Cereb Cortex2001;11:754-760. Orenstein, B. W. (2011). Music therapy for children with ADHD. Everyday Health. Retrieved from Tsang, C. D., & Conrad, N. J. (2011). Music training and reading readiness. Music Perception, 29(2), 157-163. Retrieved from
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