Operational Conditioning Behavioral Alterations

Operational Conditioning Behavioral Alterations

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Most of the things we daily perform are due to habits. Experts in psychology have suggested several theories to explain the process in which humans and animals shape such habits. Among those theories are classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. As humans it is almost inevitable to fall into bad habits, either consciously or unconsciously. Fortunately science has demonstrated that we can change or modifying unwanted behaviors through conditioning, (Whitbourne, 2012). Operational conditioning underlines how a behavior is strengthened or weakened by the use of rewards or punishments; shaping, modeling, and extinction are some of the techniques utilized to achieve these behavioral alterations, (Cherry, n.d.). Key points to consider for effective behavior modification are: clear identification of behavior to change, the use self-control, and punishments or reinforcements, (Cherry, n.d.; Selig, 2012). This paper shows how operant conditioning has been effective modifying behaviors either by rewards, extinction, or shaping.
Recently in a study conducted at the University of Milan, researcher Alessandro Orrù and colleagues (2012) created alcohol dependence in mice by reinforcing its usage, then latter on they effectively change the behavior by using a drug called Baclofen that decrease the cravings and the urge for alcohol. This drug, acts on the brain structure involved with alcohol-motivated and rewarded behaviors; apparently it helps to suppress the urge of alcohol. Because beer produces similar pleasure in both mice and humans, this study has high expectations to help alcoholic people if approved by the FDA. In this study initially the alcohol was the reinforcer, subsequently the mice modified the behavior by the use of the new drug, (Whitbourne, 2012).
Insomnia can be detrimental to the physical and mental health of an individual. Sleep problems can be treated through operational conditioning techniques such as extinction, (Cognitive Behavioral Treatments for…2012). Extinction refers to the cessation of reinforcing a trend in order to eliminate a habit, (Cherry, n.d.). The main goal sleep modification treatment is to get rid of some bad habits that are counterproductive to sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consist of four areas: circadian rhythm (internal clock that makes people go to sleep), aging, psychological stressors, and stimulants (caffeine, alcohol and other drugs) usage all these forms what it is called sleep hygiene. Activities such as naps, watching TV late at night, the use of electronic devices, and consuming stimulants can deprive adequate rest at night. Behavior modification improve sleeping patterns by eradicating these factors and establishing a regular routine to achieve the desired goal, which in this case is quality and quantity of sleep, (Cognitive Behavioral Treatments for…2012).

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Works Cited

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What is behavioral therapy?. About.com/Psychology, Retrieved December 11, 2013 from http://psychology.about.com/od/typesofpsychotherapy/a/behavioral-therapy.htm
Cognitive Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Problems. (2012). December 10, 2013 from WebMD http://www.m.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/behavioral-treatments
Greenberg, M. (2011, February 21). To lose the weight, you gotta change how you relate (to food:) Why behavioral skills are the key to long-term weight loss. Psychology Today, Retrieved December 13, 2013 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201102/lose-the-weight-you-gotta-change-how-you-relate-food
Selig, M. (2012, May 12). Changepower. Psychology Today, Retrieved December 10, 2013 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201205/do-you-need-self-esteem-change-habit
Whitbourne, S. K. (2012, October 13). From lab to life: How to let psychology help you. psychology today, Retrieved December 12, 2013 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201210/lab-life-how-let-psychology-help-you

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