Essay on Operant Vs. Operant Conditioning

Essay on Operant Vs. Operant Conditioning

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Part of the college experience is getting to live in a residence hall with a roommate. My roommate is a friend from my hometown, Tori, who I’ve known since elementary school. I love Tori, but I hate that she leaves her textbooks and notebooks all over our room. The books trip me in the mornings, make our room look dirty, and leave me little room to do my own homework or walk throughout the room. I understand the behavior if she’s working on the homework at the time, however, she leaves her books out even when she’s out of the room. This behavior didn’t start immediately upon us arriving at Iowa, it started about two weeks into the first semester. Tori got busy, and stopped prioritizing keeping the room tidy.
Operant behavior is the behavior that leads to consequences of either reinforcement or punishment. The operant behavior in my roommate situation is Tori leaving her books and notebooks all over the room. Operant conditioning is the association between the behavior and the consequences that the person being trained learns. The behavior is either strengthened by reinforcement or diminished if it results in punishment. If I reinforce good habits of Tori putting books away, she’ll learn. On the other hand, I could punish Tori for not putting her books away, which could also teach her.
To further explain, Tori’s problem of leaving books everywhere is an everyday occurrence. Even if I get her to pick her books and homework up one day, the next day they will be back on the floor. After intervening, I hope that this behavior will cease entirely, as she’ll learn to clean up her books when she’s done studying. To do this, I could use positive reinforcement, which is adding something to a certain situation to increase the chances of r...


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...observational learning in my own situation, and teach Tori to pick her homework supplies up by constantly picking my own supplies up. She would observe me keeping the room clean and putting things away, and mimic my behavior.
In conclusion, there are many different methods I could use to help condition my roommate Tori into picking up her textbooks and notebooks when she isn’t using them. I plan on first trying positive reinforcement by providing candy bars when she picks up. I could also try using positive punishment by creating chores for her to do on days she forgets to clean up her books. I could try shaping by giving a reward, help her with her chemistry homework, for every time she exhibits behavior that works towards my desired outcome. Lastly, I could use observational learning to teach Tori by cleaning up my own textbooks, and having her mimic my behavior.

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